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Prestigious recognition: NM wineries bring home awards from San Francisco International Wine Competition

Some New Mexico wineries recently cleaned up at several prestigious national and international competitions.

Vara Wines & Distillery recently won a number of medals at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition and other competitions. (Courtesy of Vara Wines & Distillery)

The San Francisco International Wine Competition is one of the largest and most influential wine competitions in the world. Founded in 1980, the competition uses a blind tasting that allows every entry to be judged fairly. This year, more than 8,000 wines were judged from all over the world, according to a Vara Winery & Distillery news release.

Wines from New Mexico’s Gruet Winery, La Chiripada Winery, Luna Rossa Winery, Jaramillo Vineyards and Vara Winery & Distillery received awards at the 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Luna Rossa once again took Double Gold in the competition. This year for its 2016 Nini Red Blend. Last year, it received Double Gold for its 2018 New Mexico Pinot Grigio. Luna Rossa received silver medals for its 2014 Barbera, 2016 Negroamaro, 2019 Chenin Blanc; and bronze medals for its 2019 Pinot Grigio, 2019 Riesling and 2019 Gewürztraminer.

Luna Rossa Winery took Double Gold for its 2016 Nini Red Blend at the 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition. (Courtesy of Luna Rossa Winery)

“(We) are happy to say we did receive medals in this year’s competition,” said Marco D’Andrea, Luna Rossa enologist. “Especially receiving a Double Gold for our flagship wine Nini.”

Vara Winery & Distillery brought home gold medals for its Vara Garnacha 2018, Vara Tempranillo 2017 USA and its Vara Silverhead Brut Reserva. Silver medals were awarded to its Vara Viura 2018, Vara Albariño 2018, Vara Tempranillo 2018 ESP and Vara Silverhead Brut. Its Vara Garnacha Rosado 2018 and Vara Silverhead Brut Rosado earned bronze medals.

Gruet Winery won a gold medal for its Blanc de Noirs NV. (Courtesy of Gruet Winery)

Gruet won gold for its Blanc de Noirs NV and silver for its Blanc de Blancs NV. Jaramillo Vineyards’ 2017 Norton won a silver medal.

Jaramillo Vineyards’ 2017 Norton recently won a silver medal at the 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition. (Courtesy of Jaramillo Winery)

“The Norton grape is a native grape of Virginia and it’s the only North American native grape to win medals in Europe,” said Jaramillo Vineyards owner Barbara Jaramillo. “It took best new world wine in Vienna in the 1800s. We are the only winery growing it this far south. It’s mainly grown in Virginia and Missouri.”

La Chiripada Winery took gold for its Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and silver for its Vintners Reserve 2018. La Chiripada also recently received a silver medal at the Finger Lakes International for its Tempranillo Limited Edition 2018, and bronze medals for its Winemakers Select Red 2017, Rio Embudo Red 2018, Special Reserve Riesling 2018 and Dolcetto 2018.

The accolades did not end in San Francisco. Some of the wineries also were recognized at the New York International Wine Competition 2020 and Rodeo Uncorked! 2021 International Wine Competition at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Vara was awarded the Double Gold medal for its Vara Albariño 2018 at the New York International Wine Competition 2020. It also received gold medals for its Vara Tempranillo 2017 and Vara Silverhead Brut Rosado; silver medals for its Vara Silverhead Brut Reserva, Vara Silverhead Brut Cava, and Vara Viura 2018; and bronze medals for its Vara Garnacha Rosado 2018 and Vara Garnacha 2018.

“In a year full of trials and tribulations and uncertainty, it is incredibly gratifying to be recognized by two very prestigious wine competitions,” said Jessie McKeon, sales & distribution manager at Vara Winery & Distillery. “The San Francisco International Wine Competition is judged by true leaders and professionals in the industry. To see our wines appreciated on a world stage is a huge honor. The judging panel for The New York International Wine Competition are industry leaders, the people that choose what goes on a wine list or in a specialty bottle shop. We are thrilled that they collectively rated our lineup of wines so highly.”

Down in Houston at the Rodeo Uncorked! 2021 International Wine Competition, Noisy Water Winery made some noise bringing home a number of medals. It won silver medals for its Proprietor Grown Zia Chardonnay, New Mexico, 2019. It also took silver for its Tighty Whitey White, Forbidden Desert Vineyard, New Mexico, 2019, which is a dry chenin blanc, and silver for its Vintner’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, New Mexico, 2018. The winery’s bronze medal winners are its Demigod Cabernet Sauvignon, New Mexico, 2018, Jo Mamma’s Sweet Red, and Jo Mamma’s Sweet White. Also medaling at the Houston competition was Gruet. It was awarded gold for its Gruet Brut Rose NV, and silver for its Gruet Blanc de Noirs NV and Gruet Blanc de Blancs NV. In addition to the San Francisco and Houston competitions, Gruet has other feathers in its hat, including several Smart Buy, Top 100 Wines recognition by Wine Spectator for its Gruet Brut NV, Gruet Blanc de Noirs NV and Gruet Sauvage NV. It also received accolades at the Texsom International with a bronze for its Sparkling Pinot Meunier and Gruet Sauvage, as well as gold medals for its Gruet Sauvage and Gruet Brut Rose NV at the Sunset International Wine Competition 2020.

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