Although the results have been turned in, the glassware has been washed and stored and the judges have gone home, we’re not done celebrating the winners of the First Annual Santé International Wine & Spirits Competition. With more than 500 brands entered in the wine portion of the competition, we’d like to share a recap of our biggest winners along with some background on each winery and fun facts to test your winery knowledge. Wineries are listed in order of points scored.
EHRET FAMILY WINERY
Who: Pierre & Susan Ehret are the proprietors of Ehret Family Winery. Erin Green debuted as a consultant winemaker with the Ehret 2015 vintage, bringing experience from Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, Vinwood Cellars, and Pahlmeyer and served as Director of Winemaking at the Napa Wine Company.
What: Although Ehret has farmed Bordeaux varietals since 1996, selling grapes to prestigious Napa Valley wineries, in 2005 they decided to reserve their highest quality grapes for their own brand. Ehret Family Wines produces Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Zinfandel, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.
Where: The Family Estate is in Knights Valley, Northern Sonoma County, Healdsburg, CA. Learn more by visiting Ehret Family Winery.
- Best of Show – 2017 Hillside Reserve Red Wine; Score: 99
- Best of Show Red Wine – 2017 Hillside Reserve Red Wine; Score: 99
- Best of Show White Wine – 2020 Sauvignon Blanc; Score: 98
- Best of Class – 2020 Sauvignon Blanc; Score: 98
- Best of Class – 2017 Hillside Reserve Red Wine; Score: 99
- Double Gold – 2020 Sauvignon Blanc; Score: 98
- Double Gold – 2017 Hillside Reserve Red Wine; Score: 99
- Gold – 2017 Bella’s Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 92
- Gold – 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 92
- Gold – 2017 Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 91
- Pierre Ehret is an avid motorsports racer and has competed in more than 100 races in both Europe and the U.S.
- The estate is certified sustainable and has a certification in Fish Friendly Farming from the California Land Stewardship Institute. All energy comes from installed solar panels and no ground water is used for irrigation as collected rain run-off is recycled instead.
DELICATO FAMILY WINES
Who: Gaspere Indelicato, an immigrant from Sicily, planted the first Delicato vineyard in 1924. Three generations of the Indelicato family have guided the winery to a successful realization of their ancestor’s dream of making quality wines.
What: Delicato Family Wines operates on the core beliefs of integrity, respect, accountability, partnership, excellence and community. Their diverse portfolio showcases premium wines produced in California, Germany and Chile. The breadth of brands includes Bota, Coppola, Noble Vines, Z. Alexander Brown, Black Stallion, 3 Finger Jack, Gnarly Head, Schmitt Sohne, and RELAX Riesling, among others.
Where: Napa Valley, Manteca, CA. Learn more by visiting Delicato Family Wines.
- Best of Class – 2018 Black Stallion Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 98
- Best of Class – 2020 Z. Alexander Brown Sauvignon Blanc; Score: 98
- Best of Class – 2019 Noble Vines 181 Merlot; Score: 96
- Best of Class – 2019 Z. Alexander Brown Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 92
- Double Gold – 2018 Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 98
- Double Gold – 2020 Z. Alexander Brown Sauvignon Blanc; Score: 98
- Double Gold – 2019 Noble Vines 181 Merlot; Score: 96
- Gold – 2019 Gnarly Head Chardonnay; Score: 94
- Gold – 2019 1924 Double Black Red Wine Blend; Score: 93
- Gold – 2019 Mercer Brothers Chardonnay; Score: 93
- Gold – 2019 Z. Alexander Brown Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 92
- Gold – 2019 Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay; Score: 92
- Gold – 2019 Black Stallion Estate Winery Chardonnay; Score: 91
- Gold – 2019 Black Stallion Estate Winery Pinot Noir; Score: 91
- Gold – NV Bota Box Pinot Grigio; Score: 91
- Gold – NV Bota Box Nighthawk Black Rich Red Wine Blend; Score: 90
- Gaspere Indelicato chose Manteca, California to plant his vineyard because it reminded him of his homeland in Italy. He established the winery with his three sons.
- Delicato Family Wines is the sixth largest U.S. winery and exporter of wine from the USA.
- The winery harvests grapes from more than 6,000 acres of estate vineyards in California’s Napa, Lodi, Monterey and Sonoma regions to craft wines that express the diversity of these appellations.
- All Delicato Family Wines production facilities are certified sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a comprehensive program of the California Wine Institute.
L’ATITUDE 47 WINE / WEST COAST WINES
Who: In 2018, four students at the Walla Walla Community College Enology & Viticulture Program met and a wine brand was born.
What: The brand was aptly named for the 47º latitude which boasts ideal growing conditions for wine in Europe (Walla Walla, WA is near the same latitude). L’atitude 47 is a brand of West Coast Wines, producing Rosé, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and white and red blends.
Where: Wines are produced from the Walla Walla and Columbia Valleys, Walla Walla , WA. Learn more by visiting L’atitude 47/West Coast Wines.
- Best of Class – 2019 Avalanché; Score: 96
- Best of Class – 2018 Venture; Score: 96
- Best of Class – 2020 Riesling Muscat; Score: 95
- Double Gold – 2019 Avalanché; Score: 96
- Double Gold – 2018 Venture; Score: 96
- Double Gold – 2020 Riesling Muscat; Score: 95
- Gold – 2020 Revolution; Score: 92
Fun Facts: A team of four Enology & Viticulture students processed over 100 tons of grapes from the college vineyards and from top area vineyards to create more than 50 lots of wine during their two year program. Their goal: to create affordable wines that boast the uniqueness of the WA state growing conditions.
2HAWK VINEYARD & WINERY
Who: Ross and Jen Allen are the owners of 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery. Kiley Evans, winemaker, brings over 15 years of professional winemaking experience to 2Hawk, including tenures at Abacela Winery (Roseburg, OR), Agate Ridge Vineyard (Eagle Point, OR), and Ledger David Cellars (Central Point, OR). Kiley’s winemaking talents have been acclaimed by industry publications and international judges, earning 24 awards for 2Hawk Winery in 2016.
What: 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery, established in 2009, is named after the two hawks who have soared over the estate and vineyard since its original planting, signifying a connection with the earth and acting as a reminder to be mindful and gracious. They produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Pinto Noir, Grenache, red blends including Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Muscat and Grenache Rosé.
Where: The estate is in Rogue Valley, Medford OR. Learn more by visiting 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery.
- Best of Show Rosé Wine – 2019 Grenache Rosé; Score: 96
- Best of Class – 2017 Tempranillo; Score: 93
- Best of Class – 2019 Grenache Rosé; Score: 96
- Double Gold – 2019 Grenache Rosé; Score: 96
- Gold – 2017 Tempranillo; Score: 93
- Gold – 2019 Sauvignon Blanc; Score: 92
- 2Hawk Winery’s environmentally friendly tasting room was constructed with reclaimed lumber from across the country, with each piece of history sharing a story. From the flooring, which utilizes timber recovered from the Lithia Motors Building prior to demolition, to the ceiling panels recovered from a Pennsylvania mushroom farm operation to the walls that incorporate stones from the vineyard fields, each element contributes to the rustic elegance of a bygone era.
Who: Founded by brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo in 1933 in Modesto, CA following the repeal of Prohibition, they produced 177,847 gallons of wine in their first year.
What: E & J Gallo has demonstrated a commitment to quality from its early days of grape growing and wine making to their current role as a global leader in wine and spirits production and distribution to more than 100 countries around the world. Their wine brands are far-ranging, including André, Barefoot, Clos du Bois, Ecco Domani, Franciscan, Hogue Cellars, J Vineyards, Louis M. Martini, Manischewitz, Nobilo, Pahlmeyer, Rex Goliath, Taylor, Toasted Head, and William Hill, among many others.
Where: E & J Gallo is headquartered in Modesto, CA. Learn more by visiting E & J Gallo.
- Best of Class – NV Barefoot Chardonnay; Score: 95
- Best of Class – 2019 Alamos Red Blend; Score: 94
- Best of Class – NV Barefoot Pinot Grigio; Score: 93
- Double Gold – NV Barefoot Chardonnay; Score: 95
- Gold – 2019 Alamos Red Blend; Score: 94
- Gold – NV Barefoot Pinot Grigio; Score: 93
- Gold – NV Barefoot Fruitscato Peach; Score: 93
- Gold – NV Barefoot Sauvignon blanc; Score: 92
- Gold – NV Barefoot Sangria; Score: 92
- Gold – 2019 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 91
- Gold – 2018 Alamos Merlot Selección; Score: 91
- Gold – NV Barefoot Pink Moscato; Score: 91
- Gold – NV Barefoot Fruitscato Apple; Score: 91
- Gold – NV Barefoot Moscato Spritzer; Score: 90
- Gold – NV Barefoot Rosé Spritzer; Score: 90
- Gold – NV Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato; Score: 90
- Julio Gallo focused on wine production while his brother Ernest managed sales. In the beginning, they had one tractor, running it on 12/12 hour shifts.
- In 1966, E & J Gallo was recognized as the largest U.S. winery based on sales volume.
- E & J Gallo was the first U.S. winery to achieve ISO 14001 Certification in 2005.
- In 2008, Gallo celebrated 75 years as a family-owned winery.
- Gallo was named a “Best Places to Work” by Glassdoor for five consecutive years (2017 – 2021).
RODNEY STRONG WINE ESTATES
Who: Rod Strong followed his passion to Sonoma with his wife Charlotte Ann Winson to begin his career as a winemaker with sustainability in mind. Rick Sayre joined as winemaker and commits over 40 years to fine winemaking. In 1989, The Klein Family purchased Rodney Strong Vineyards.
What: The winery was established in 1959. Three years later, Rod purchased vineyards in Windsor, replanting with Chardonnay (now known as Chalk Hill AVA), followed shortly thereafter with planting of Pinto Noir in the Russian River Valley. In 1974, Alexander’s Crown was the first Sonoma County single designate Cabernet Sauvignon to be released. Young wine critic Robert Parker declared it “…one of the finest cabernets ever made in California. If you can find it, consider yourself lucky.”
Where: The estate is in Sonoma County, Healdsburg, CA. Learn more by visiting Rodney Strong Wine Estates.
- Gold – 2018 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 93
- Gold – 2017 Knights Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 93
- Gold – 2018 Chalk Hill Estate Vineyard; Score: 92
- Gold – 2017 Sonoma County Merlot; Score: 92
- Gold – 2019 California Chardonnay; Score: 91
- Gold – 2020 Russian River Valley Estate Rosé of Pinto Noir; Score: 91
- Gold – 2017 Russian River Valley Pinto Noir; Score: 90
- Gold – 2018 Russian River Valley Pinto Noir; Score: 90
- Rodney Strong was a modern-day Renaissance man. He not only excelled at sports and music but he was also a dancing prodigy who studied at the American School of Ballet and danced on Broadway.
- Rodney Strong Wine Estates is serious about sustainability. Through soil and water conservation, wildlife protection and boasting one of the largest solar arrays in the world (that supplies 49% of overall electricity used), the estate was the first winery in Sonoma County to be deemed carbon neutral.
ALEXANDER VALLEY VINEYARDS
Who: Starting with Harry and Maggie Wetzel, four generations continue the family winemaking tradition on the historic Cyrus Alexander homestead. Kevin Halls joins AVV as winemaker in 1998, a position he still holds today. He was also named 2018 Sonoma Winemaker of the Year
What: From the first planting in 1963, the AVV winery has gone through several expansions over the years. AVV received certification as an organic vineyard and as a Certified Sonoma Green Business, furthering its commitment to its environmental mission by earning the right to add the Sonoma County Sustainably Farmed Grapes logo to their wine labels. The vineyard produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Rosé, Gewürztraminer and red blends. Large format and half bottles are available.
Where: The estate is in Alexander Valley, Healdsburg, CA. Learn more by visiting Alexander Valley Vineyards.
- Gold – 2019 Estate Chardonnay; Score: 93
- Gold – 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 93
- Gold – 2020 Gewürz; Score: 92
- Gold – 2018 Zinfandel; Score: 91
- Gold – 2017 Alexander School Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 91
- Gold – 2018 Organically Grown Cabernet Sauvignon; Score: 90
- In 1962, Harry Wetzel agreed to purchase a section of land from the Alexander heirs with less than 24 hours of contemplation and having never set foot on the land.
- For a record fourth time, CYRUS has earned top honors at the Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition held by the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. CYRUS 2014 was named the best in a blind tasting of over 2,600 wines from 877 different brands. Over the years CYRUS has contributed over $750,000 through the Champion Wine Auction and other rodeo activities towards scholarships for Texas youth.