The new gold standard
COVID-19 has spoiled so many events in 2020, but it couldn’t stop the Idaho Wine Competition from proceeding on a hot and sunny day in the middle of August. That’s not to say its presence wasn’t felt. For the 11th edition of the event hosted by Great Northwest Wine, the judges were respectfully spaced at least six feet apart from one another, per social distancing safety guidelines, at Koenig Vineyards in Caldwell, Idaho.
In spite of the added distance, it didn’t slow them down from evaluating 160 individual Idaho wines (a new record!) submitted by 36 wineries from across the state. It’s hard work, but someone’s gotta do it. In this case, it was completed by an expert panel of writers, sommeliers, winemaking consultants, wine buyers and other industry experts.
Right about now, you’re probably reconsidering your career choice. But be careful what you wish for. To judge wine, you better know what you’re talking about. The judging is blind, which is just a fancy way of saying the judges have no idea what they’re drinking. There are no labels, corks or other clues to go by. Instead, the judges rely on their own expert senses — including the appearance, smell, taste, texture and overall quality of each wine.
Since the competition started way back in 2010, the Idaho wine industry added two American Viticulture Areas (AVAs), increased the number of Idaho wineries by 30 percent and contributed more than $210 million annually to the Idaho economy.
Without further ado, here are this year’s winners…
2020 Idaho Wine Competition winners
Best of show, best white wine, double gold medal
Williamson Vineyards 2019 Albariño, Snake River Valley $23
Best red wine
Telaya Wine Co. 2018 Turas Journey Red Wine, Snake River Valley $34
Best sparkling wine
3100 Cellars 2016 Whitewater Sparkling Wine, Snake River Valley $36
Best rosé, double gold medal
Koenig Vineyards 2019 Dry Rosé, Snake River Valley $18
Best sweet wine, double gold medal
Cinder Wines 2019 46 Brix Riesling Ice Wine, Snake River Valley $25
Double gold medal
- Camas Prairie Winery 2019 Strawberry Mead, Idaho $14
- Cinder Wines 2019 Rosé of Cinsault, Snake River Valley $23
- Hat Ranch Winery 2019 Estate Dry Moscato, Snake River Valley $18
- Koenig Vineyards 2018 Lanae Ridge Vineyard Sangiovese, Snake River Valley $28
- Lindsay Creek Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc, Washington $28
- Snake River Winery 2014 Arena Valley Vineyard Late Harvest Riesling, Snake River Valley $17
- Williamson Vineyards 2018 Harvest Moon Red, Snake River Valley $20
- Bitner Vineyards 2019 Reserve Chardonnay, Snake River Valley $24
- Camas Prairie Winery 2019 Raspberry Mead, Idaho $14
- Cinder Wines 2019 Small Lot Series Ville de Jardin, Snake River Valley $30
- Cinder Wines 2018 Valentina Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot – Malbec, Snake River Valley $30
- Cinder Wines 2019 Off-Dry Riesling, Snake River Valley $23
- Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2018 Roosevelt Ridge Vineyard Coco’s Reserve Petite Sirah, Washington $38
- Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2017 Coco’s Reserve Selway, Washington $45
- Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2018 Umiker Vineyard Estate Syrah, Lewis-Clark Valley $28
- Domaine Holesinsky 2019 Gertschen Vineyard Buhljolais Rosé of Syrah, Idaho $12
- Huston Vineyards 2016 Syrah, Snake River Valley $31
- Huston Vineyards 2019 Chicken Dinner White Wine, Snake River Valley $16
- Indian Creek Winery 2018 Viognier, Snake River Valley $16
- Jovinea Cellars 2018 Petit Verdot, Washington $30
- Koenig Vineyards 2016 Cuvée Alden Private Reserve Red Wine, Snake River Valley $50
- Krause & Schnerr Family Cellars 2019 Laissez Faire Red Wine, Snake River Valley $19
- Parma Ridge Winery 2017 Carménère, Washington $39
- Rivaura Estate Vineyards & Winery 2018 Estate Vineyards Grenache, Lewis-Clark Valley $38
- Rivaura Estate Vineyards & Winery 2018 Estate Vineyards Syrah, Lewis-Clark Valley $36
- Roghani Vineyards 2014 Riesling, Snake River Valley $30
- Roghani Vineyards 2014 Late Harvest Riesling, Snake River Valley $27
- Telaya Wine Co. 2019 Carrie’s Select Chardonnay, Snake River Valley $25
- Telaya Wine Co. 2018 Scoria Vineyard Malbec, Snake River Valley $40
- Two Bad Labs Vineyard 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Lewis-Clark Valley $17
- Vale Wine Co. 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley $28
- Vale Wine Co. 2019 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley $21
- Veer Wine Project 2017 Avignon Red Wine, Washington $29
A taste of Idaho Gold
A new feature coming out of the Idaho Wine Competition for 2020 was a boon for wine enthusiasts. Under the name Taste Idaho Gold and for a limited time the Idaho Wine Commission curated full and half-case options of this year’s Gold Medal winners at 10% off the retail price — allowing you to experience the best-of-the-best wines that Idaho has to offer while simultaneously supporting Idaho wineries.
Sales ended September 30th. So if you missed out this year, make a note today to check back in around the holiday season.
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