HOOD RIVER, Ore. — The largest judging of Pacific Northwest wine, staged at one of the West Coast’s oldest hotels, has a new name: the Cascadia Wine Competition.
Great Northwest Wine will assemble more than 20 wine professionals from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia at the Columbia Gorge Hotel to seek out and put the spotlight on the region’s top bottlings.
For its first three years, the Cascadia Wine Competition was called the Great Northwest Wine Competition. This year, the name was changed to differentiate it from the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, the judging organized in October by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. The event also is held at the hotel built in 1921 by timber magnate Simon Benson.
This winter’s Cascadia Wine Competition will be staged March 15-17. The judging will be expanded by a day in anticipation of surpassing last year’s record-setting 1,204 entries, which represented more than 250 Pacific Northwest wineries.
All wines are tasted blind by category, and the judging panel is made up of 10 men and 10 women winemakers, sommeliers, journalists, retailers and marketers. Ken Robertson, longtime columnist for Wine Press Northwest magazine, will serve as chief judge.
Gold medals to be announced immediately on Twitter
The Cascadia Wine Competition will continue the organizers’ tradition of contacting wineries via email immediately after a wine has won a gold medal and announcing the news on Twitter. Gold medal winners are automatically eligible for Wine Press Northwest’s year-end Platinum Judging.
Last year’s best of show was the Vino La Monarcha 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé from Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley. The dry rosé represents one of several wines within Palencia Wine Co., in Walla Walla, Wash., and is made by Victor Palencia. A winery from Walla Walla has earned the competition’s top award in each of its three years.
Saviah Cellars in Walla Walla and Mt. Hood Winery in Hood River topped the 2015 field as each earned six gold medals. Tightrope Winery in Penticton, British Columbia, finished right behind with five gold medals.
Degerman and Perdue — owners, editors and writers of Great Northwest Wine — have more than 35 years of combined experience writing about the wines, vineyards and chefs of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho. They founded Wine Press Northwest magazine in 1997 for the Tri-City (Wash.) Herald and edited the quarterly magazine through 2012. They also published a weekly e-mail newsletter called the Pacific Northwest Wine of the Week.
In 2010, they launched a weekly wine column called Northwest Wine that is syndicated in 22 newspapers and has a print and online audience of more than 5 million potential readers.