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Harvest Fair's big winners

  • Wilson Winery's Diane Wilson, left, and Ken Wilson, center, laugh with winemaker Kerry Damskey after finding out they were winners at this years Sonoma County Harvest Fair Awards.

A major Sonoma Valley winery, a small, family-owned winery in the Dry Creek Valley and a maker of sparkling wines in the Carneros region took top honors Saturday in the Sonoma County Harvest Fair wine judging.

For the first time, the winners were announced at a dinner dedicated to recognizing the Sonoma County wine industry and its best wines.

The sweepstakes award for white wine went to Kenwood Vineyards for its 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Gris, priced at $16.

2011 Harvest Fair Wine Judging

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Wilson Winery won top red with its 2009 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel at $36.

And in the specialty wines category, created a year ago, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards won for its 2007 Carneros Brut Rose at $42.

The first of the recipients, Pat Henderson, Kenwood's senior winemaker, walked off the stage after receiving the award and pronounced himself "ecstatic."

With harvest underway, Henderson said he'd been up since 3 a.m. and repeating that dawn call today promised an early rise, too.

"I'm not sure how much celebrating I'm going to be able to do tonight," he said.

Ken and Diane Wilson took home the third sweepstakes win for zinfandel for their winery since 2005. "It's a really nice Sonoma County validation," Diane Wilson said.

Bob Iantosca, executive winemaker at Gloria Ferrer, paid tribute to Kenwood's late co-founder and friend Mike Lee, for whom the specialty wine award was named.


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