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Wednesday, Oct. 05, 2011

NW wineries shine in Sunset's Western Wine Awards

SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. — Sunset magazine editors, celebrity guests and some of the West Coast’s most talented winemakers gathered last week at the Sunset Western Wine Awards Gala to celebrate the best in Western wine.

The Sunset Western Wine Awards, which were established in 2005, focusing on wine producers in the West. Sunset’s panel of professional judges includes Western wine writers, sommeliers, and wine instructors, who nominate wines they have tasted in the past year.

The winners in each category are selected by the judges during a blind tasting at Sunset’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. This year more than 500 nominated wines were tasted before narrowing the field to 32 finalists. Among the Northwest wineries to win accolades at the 2011 Sunset Western Wine Awards include:

Connoisseur category

$26 to $40 — St. Innocent 2009 Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills; $36)

Special Occassion— $41 to $60 — Woodward Canyon 2010 Chardonnay (Washington State; $44)

Lifetime Achievement Award — Allen Shoup, managing partner of Long Shadows Vintners, managing partner of The Benches at Wallula Gap

Winemaker of the Year — Isabelle Meunier, Evening Land Vineyards, Oregon

Sommelier of the Year— Terry Threlfall, Wine Director, Hawksworth Restaurant, Vancouver, B.C.

Best New Wine Bars (three categories)

For the Foodie — The Local Vine, Seattle

For Super-Local Wines — Urban Enoteca, Seattle

The Western Wine Awards winners will be featured in the November issue of Sunset magazine.