North Coast Wine Challenge underway in Santa Rosa

The 2015 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge began Tuesday at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel in Santa Rosa.

The contest is only open to the wines with 75 percent of their grapes sourced from the North Coast, including AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, plus parts of Marin and Solano counties. A total of 1,054 entries qualified for the competition.

By Wednesday, the panel of judges consisting of winemakers, wine buyers, wine media and sommeliers from across the country will have chosen the Best of Show wines in five categories - red, white, rose, sparkling and dessert/late harvest - as well as Best of County wines and the one wine deemed the “Best of the Best.”

All of the winners, including the gold medal winning wines, will be announced April 26 at and in The Press Democrat’s Food+Wine section April 29.

The 2015 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge Tasting will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. May 17 at The Barlow in Sebastopol. The tasting will feature wines that achieved both a gold medal status and 90+ points in the competition. There will be food tastings prepared by local chefs Douglas Keane, Dustin Valette, Daniel Kedan, Duskie Estes, Liza Hinman, Brandon Sharp, Armando G. Navarro and Christopher Ludwick.

Tickets to the tasting cost $95 are available at

Diane Peterson

Features, The Press Democrat

I’m interested in the home kitchen, from sheet-pan suppers to the latest food trends. Food encompasses the world, its many cultures, languages and history. It is both essential and sensual. I also have my fingers on the pulse of classical music in Sonoma County, from student mariachi bands to jazz crossover and symphonic sounds. It’s all a rich gumbo, redolent of the many cultures that make up our country and the world.

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