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2015 Press Release

For Immediate Release


April 22, 2015


Competition Inquiries

Contact: Debra Del Fiorentino,
Director of Wine Competitions Vineyard & Winery Management

Phone: 707.577.7700 x109



To Reach The Press Democrat

Contact: Cindy Butner, Marketing Director

Phone: 707.526.8577




Results Are In for the 2015 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge

Roche Winery, Chardonnay, 2013, Carneros, French Oak Reserve takes "Best of the Best of the Best"


Santa Rosa, Calif. – From the heart of North Coast wine country, Vineyard & Winery Management magazine (V&WM) and The Press Democrat have concluded the third annual North Coast Wine Challenge, a wine competition focused exclusively on wines produced in this prestigious region. A total of 174 gold medals were awarded medals from a field of nearly 1050 eligible entries, the most entries to date since its launch.


In the good nature of competitive spirit and ultimate bragging rights, this challenge rated wines produced and bottled by wineries only in North Coast AVAs. The challenge was created to highlight the best of each county and ultimately, the entire region. The North Coast served as its own jury in the decision-making, with competition judges representing the best sommeliers, winemakers, retail buyers and media.


"Top Wines received prestigious rankings of Best of Class by Category, Best of County, and ultimately one wine won the Best of the Best Award.  The Roche Chardonnay was the stand-out at this year's event.  Judges described it as '…the perfect chardonnay. A slam dunk favorite with all the judges. This wine really rocks!!'  The wine received 99 points with a retail price of $35.95," according to Wine Competition Director Debra Del Fiorentino.


Only wines rating 90+ points were awarded gold medals and were eligible to move on to the 'Best Of' Category. "Our criteria is to only announce gold medal winners and above.  This enables us to keep the prestige level high in this exclusive and wine judging," explained Robert Merletti, CEO and President of V&WM.  All gold medal winners will be featured in the Food and Wine section of The Press Democrat on Wednesday, April 29. 


Chief Judge Daryl Groom had this to say, "Wow!  Another awesome judging with the 2015 North Coast Wine Competition. I was really thrilled with the talented pool of judges we had and oh what a pleasure to taste such an exceptional range of high quality diverse wines."  Groom's expertise includes serving as wine judge in more than 150 wine shows across the United States, and he has made many award-winning wines in California's North Coast and his native Australia. He was named Winemaker of the Year by eight publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times.


The Press Democrat will subsequently host a trade and public tasting on May 17 at The Barlow in Sebastopol, Calif. featuring the highest scoring Gold Medal winners from this year's challenge.   "From the start of this competition three years ago we talked about a first class, quality experience for all involved and we not only met, but exceeded those expectations!," said Steve Falk, CEO of Sonoma Media Investments, owners of The Press Democrat. 


The event will be the largest ever held at The Barlow since its transformation from apple cannery to a home to Artisan wine, food and arts makers.  Guests will be able to explore The Barlow, meet gold-medal-winning winemakers and taste their wines paired with delicious food bites prepared by iconic North Bay chefs. 


The Press Democrat will preview California's New Wine Museum scheduled to open in Santa Rosa, California in 2016.  Guests will be able to experience wine exhibits and weigh in on its development.


Complimentary trade and press passes are available in addition to a pre-event trade talk (seating is limited).  The Trade Talk will debunk myths about sustainability and will be presented by Ray Johnson, Director of the Wine Business Institutes at Sonoma State University, Karissa Kruze, Director of the Sonoma County Winegrowers and Allison Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute.


For more details about the tasting, contact Cindy Butner, Marketing Director for The Press Democrat (see contact information above) or visit for full details.


Award winners will be posted at,,,, and on Sunday, April 26, 2015.


About Vineyard & Winery Management

Based in Santa Rosa, Calif., Vineyard & Winery Management is an independently owned and operated multimedia company that produces an international wine trade publication, conferences, trade shows and wine competitions. The family-owned company publishes Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, which has the highest circulation of any North American wine trade publication. V&WM's conferences and trade shows include Craft Beverages Unlimited and the Midwest Grape & Wine + Craft Brew Conference. Its wine competitions include The Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, Grand Harvest Awards, East Meets West (formerly International Eastern Wine Competition and West Coast Wine Competition), and the International Women's Wine Competition. See for more information.


Sponsors of Vineyard & Winery Management's Competition Judging event sponsors include Penta Water, Wine Country Shipping, Alsco, Graber Olives, Sonoma Wine Country Hilton, Costeaux French Bakery, Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, Sonoma Cider, Sonoma Gourmet,  Chris's Stuff, Berkmans Spices, Pasta Sonoma, Bottle Barn, Traditional Medicinals, Tierra Vegetables, Taylor Maid Farms Organic Coffee, Recherche du Plaisir, F.A. Nino's Godfather of Sauce, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Gipson's Golden, Jimtown Store, Bloody Bob's, Add Garlic!, Neal Brothers Foods, G&G Supermarkets, Chalk Hill Cookery, and Community First Credit Union.


About The Press Democrat

Based in Santa Rosa, Calif. , The Press Democrat is the North Bay's most-read provider of up-to-the-minute local news. It is a recognized leader in the development of highly effective integrated media solutions for its business clients. The Press Democrat is owned by Sonoma Media Investments LLC, a multimedia company that provides world-class local news, information and entertainment to audiences throughout San Francisco's North Bay.  See and for more information.


Sponsors of the Press Democrat's Trade and Public Tasting Presented by Sonoma Clean Power and sponsored by: Wells Fargo; Lavish Custom Sound; Smother's European – Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Sprinter; BevMo!; Cokas|Diko; Sonoma Magazine and the Wineseum.

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