Michigan Riesling and California Rose share first place.

1. March 2021. (Santa Rosa, CA) – On a crisp midwinter day, 24 judges gathered to determine the winner of the East Meets West International Wine Competition. For the first time in the history of wine, two wines have received the highest awards. Bowers Harbor (Michigan) Vineyards 2019 Riesling won top honors in the East, and Trecini 2020 Grenache Rosé was named best in the West. Before the eyes of the jury both were equally impressed, and a draw was declared.

The International Oriental Wine Competition was founded in 1975 and is the oldest existing wine competition. Eligible wines may come from Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Mexico (mainland), Canada (excluding British Columbia) and any other U.S. state not listed below. Established in 1982, the West Coast Wine Competition is open to wines from Australia, China, India, Japan, the Middle East, New Zealand, the Pacific Rim, Russia, Tasmania, British Columbia (Canada), Baja Mexico and the U.S. states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Each competition is independently judged by experts familiar with the styles and varieties of each geographic region. Eight years ago, a final round was added, pouring the best of each other’s wines in the East Meets West Taste Off.

The third element of the competition, specifically focused on Riesling wines, adds even more intrigue to the competition. This year, the winner of the Riesling contest and the International Orient contest was one and the same person.

The 2019 Bowers Harbor Riesling (dry), from the Old Mission AVA Peninsula in Michigan, was greeted by the judges with mango, pineapple and pear flavors; impeccable balance; sweet and sour perfection – a classic. Trecini 2020 Rose Grenache, derived from the name of Yolo County, California, was described by the judges as strawberry lemonade; good acidity; candy notes; citrus.

No other competition gives judges a glimpse of the best of both worlds, says writer and wine educator Laura Ness, one of this year’s judges. And the combination of eastern riesling and western grenache rosé finally shows how robust these wines are. It’s an unprecedented opportunity for wineries to make their mark on the national stage – and for consumers to discover something fresh, new and remarkable.

After a year of uncertainty and postponement, it was nice to see this important competition go ahead on schedule – and with many more wines than last year, said Debra Del Fiorentino, owner of Wine Competitions Production & Management. Entries are up 15% from 2020, indicating that wineries are eager to compete again.

The next WCMP competition is the North Coast Press Democrat Wine Challenge, May 6-7. April 2021.  The deadline for registration is the 25th. Mars. For more information, see www.winecompetitions.com.

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