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Early round of judging Harvest Fair wines begins

  • Ellen Landis tastes a syrah wine during the Harvest Fair wine judging, Wednesday Sept. 25, 2013 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Faced with a daunting 975 wines to taste and score in just three days, judges at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition on Wednesday quickly resumed their yearly ritual of politically correct discord — agreeing to disagree.

The identity of the winners in this tasting will be announced Saturday night at the Sonoma County Harvest Awards for participating wineries and their industry partners. As for the public, they'll get a chance to elbow their way to the winners next week during the Harvest Fair, Oct. 4 to 6.

Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Judging

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In Wednesday's early round of tasting, the judges began their genteel sparring in the Showcase Cafe at the Sonoma County fairgrounds.

Dr. Gerry Ritchie, a professor of enology at Cal Poly, and Ron Washam, a former Los Angeles sommelier, didn't see eye to eye on a sauvignon blanc. Ritchie gave it a bronze while Washam gave it a gold.

"I think it's a varietally pretty sauvignon blanc with melon and fig and a nice, long finish," said Washam, who also writes the playful blog HoseMaster of Wine. "It's a lovely wine."


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