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The Wine Judges Rule

55 judges from around the nation evaluated 3,800 wines over four cold January days in Cloverdale, California. The judges’ diverse backgrounds span the wine and food media, retail and industry trade, winemaking, tourism, wine education and the restaurant and hospitality arenas. All are experts in their fields and bring a wealth of experience to the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

During the competition, the judges are assembled into panels of five to evaluate over 100 wines each day. Wines are presented completely blind in flights or groups of ten. The judges only know the category of wine they are judging. The identity of each wine and the region where it originates remain a secret until after the judging concludes. All that the judges see is wine in their glasses; never catching a glimpse of the bottles.

Judges make their individual notes on each wine in the flight. They then report their scores to a coordinator who posts all of their scores on a chalkboard in front of the panel. The judges discuss and debate, reconciling their scores to create a group award of Bronze, Silver or Gold. Some wines are deemed unacceptable and receive no award at all. Others, which receive a unanimous Gold, are designated as Double Gold Medal Winners.

This collaborative approach to judging at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition ensures that the results reflect a broad group of experts rather than a lone critic at home, creating results that the public can embrace with confidence.

You can taste the medal winners at Fort Mason on Saturday, February 24 from 1-5 p.m. Compare your assessments with those of the professionals. Attend the Special Tasting sponsored by Maverick American Eatery & Wine Bar and you can meet several of the judges, who will be on hand to answer your questions about their work and the judging of the wines.

Here they are, the 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Judges.

Michael Apstein, Wine Writer, Boston Globe &, Boston, MA
Dan Berger, Syndicated Wine Writer, Santa Rosa, CA
Gene Burns, Host, Dining Around with Gene Burns Show, KGO, San Francisco, CA
Jeanne Christie, Wine Editor, Arizona Gourmet Living, Tuscon, AZ
Laurie Daniel, Wine Writer, San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, CA
Eric Degerman, Managing Editor of Wine Press Northwest, Tri-Cities, WA
Jill A. Ditmire, Wine Columnist, Indianapolis Star News, Indianapolis, IN
Barbara Ensrud, Wine Writer and Regional Correspondent Appellation America, Durham, NC
Bob Foster, Assistant Editor, California Grapevine Wine Newsletter, San Diego, CA
DeWayne Holmdahl, Host, The Wine Show, KSMA1240, Santa Maria, CA
David Jones, Wine Writer, Educator and founder of Wine Works, San Francisco, CA
Tim McNally, Host, The Wine Show, New Orleans, LA
Hope Merletti Moffett, Publisher Emeritus, Vineyard & Winery Management, Watkins Glen, NY
Andy Perdue, Editor, Wine Press Northwest, Tri-Cities, WA
Lisa Shara Hall, Senior Editor, Wine Business Monthly, Portland, OR
Tom Simoneau, "The Wine Guy" KSRO and Director of Sales at Windsor Vineyards, Santa Rosa, CA
Sue Straight, Wine Writer, Wine Country This Week & Exec. Dir., Anderson Valley Winegrowers Assn., Redwood Valley, CA.
Rosina Tinari Wilson, Senior Editor, Wine X Magazine, Santa Rosa, CA

Patrick “Chip” Cassidy, Wine Director, Crown Wine & Spirits, Miami, FL
Kristi Mohar, Wine Buyer, Fiesta & Pacific Markets, Sebastopol, CA
Christopher O'Gorman, Director of Public Relations, Merryvale, St. Helena, CA
Ben Pearson, General Manager and Wine Buyer, Bottle Barn, Santa Rosa, CA
Jeff Porter, Wine Buyer, Andronico’s Markets, Albany, CA
Renay Santero, Wine Buyer, Oliver’s Markets in Cotati & Santa Rosa, CA
Bill Traverso, Owner, Traverso’s Gourmet Foods & Wine, Santa Rosa, CA
Wilfred Wong, e-Commerce Cellarmaster, Beverages & more! Concord, CA

Brian Baker, VP Consumer Relationship Marketing, Kendall-Jackson, Santa Rosa, CA
Mark Chandler, Executive Director, Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission, Lodi, CA
Les Ferguson, Wine Industry Consultant, Robert Rue Vineyard, Santa Rosa, CA
Tim Hardin, Winemaker, Stryker Sonoma, Geyserville, CA
Pat Henderson, Author and Winemaker, Kenwood Vineyards, Kenwood, CA
Dan Kosta, Cofounder, Kosta-Browne Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Mike Lee, Winemaker, Kenwood, CA
Ann Littlefield, Consultant, New Vine Logistics, Napa, CA
Charles Mara, Marketing and Sales Consultant, Mara Wine Group, Pound Ridge, NY
Tim McDonald, Public Relations Consultant, Napa, CA
Richard Peterson, Writer and Winemaker, Napa, CA
David Rogers, Senior Wine Consultant & Product Training Instructor, Windsor Vineyards, Windsor, CA
Kent Rosenblum, Owner, Rosenblum Cellars, Alameda, CA
Elizabeth Slater, Founder, In Short Direct Marketing, Windsor, CA

Walter Inman, Sommelier, John Ash & Co., Santa Rosa, CA
Ellen Landis, Wine Director, Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn, Half Moon Bay, CA
Ken Landis, Chef, Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn, Half Moon Bay, CA
Dan McCoog, Sommelier, Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, Tucson, AZ
Richard Mercer, Owner, Experience Italy, Sacramento, CA
Larry Van Aalst, Sommelier, Equus Restaurant, Santa Rosa, CA
Ann Walker, Author, Educator and Executive Chef, Ann Walker Catering, San Anselmo, CA

Carl G. Brandhorst, Regional Vice President for Virginia, American Wine Society, Fairfax, VA
Barbara Drady, President, Affairs of the Vine, Sebastopol, CA
Barry H. Gump, Ph.D., Professor of Enology, California State University Fresno, Fresno, CA
Ralph E. Kunkee, Professor Emeritus of Enology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA
Ron Rawlinson, Wine Consultant, Writer & Educator, San Luis Obispo, CA
Mike Stepanovich, Wine Journalist & Educator, Bakersfield, CA

Also see: San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Judges

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