HOOD RIVER, Ore. – Some of the Pacific Northwest’s top wine professionals have gathered at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel to judge some of the Northwest’s top wines in the fourth annual Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.
Nearly 600 wines will be judged between now and Thursday afternoon, as judges from across the West Coast will swirl, sniff, sip and spit as they determine what some of the best wines in the Northwest are.
The Invitational is unlike any other wine competition in the country, as the wines being judged are nominated ahead of time by the judges. The judges are selected by Great Northwest Wine for the influence and knowledge of the Northwest wine industry, coming from all corners of the industry, including restaurateurs, writers, retailers and wholesalers.
This year’s nominating judges include:
- Naomi Boutz is manager and wine director of The Cellar at 317 Sherman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
- Amberleigh Brownson is founding wine buyer/co-owner of EAT Restaurant and Bar in Bellingham, Wash.
- Dan Carr is co-owner/wine buyer and executive chef of Visconti’s Restaurants in Leavenworth and Wenatchee, Wash., and proprietor/director of operations for Cured by Visconti’s.
- Doug Charles is proprietor of Compass Wines in Anacortes, Wash.
- Jeff Cox is wine buyer for PCC Natural Markets in the Puget Sound.
- Mike Dunne is the wine columnist for the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee.
- Ilene Dudunake owns A New Vintage Wine Shop near Boise, Idaho.
- Dave Holstrom owns Guy du Vin, a restaurant wine program consulting business in Portland.
- Chris Horn is the wine director for Seattle-based Heavy Restaurant Group and Purple Café & Wine Bar.
- Lane Hoss is the wine buyer and vice president of marketing for Anthony’s Restaurants.
- Ellen Landis is a sommelier, wine journalist and renowned international wine judge.
- Amy Mullally is the domestic wine buyer for The Wine Country in Long Beach, Calif.
- Tim O’Brien is corporate director of beverage at Salty’s Restaurants in Seattle.
- Katelyn Peil is beverage director of the Seattle-based Heavy Restaurant Group.
- April Reddout is wine program director of the Walter Clore Center in Prosser, Wash.
- Yashar Shayan is a certified sommelier and founder of the Seattle-based retailer ImpulseWine.com.
- Steve Sinkler is owner of The Wine Shack in Cannon Beach, Ore.
- Dave Smith is wine buyer for Everything Wine in Vancouver, British Columbia.
- Annie Sullivan is the beverage director and public relations manager for Anthony’s Restaurants.
- Audrey Surrao is co-owner/wine buyer of RauDZ Regional Table in Kelowna, British Columbia.
- Mark Takagi is specialty sales director of the Seattle-based Metropolitan Market group.
- Randa Wolf, wine director, Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Ore.
- Jean Yates is president of Oregon Wine Marketing.
- Paul Zitarelli is owner for Full Pull Wines in Seattle and wine writer for Seattle magazine.
Past winners of the Northwest Invite
Past winners of the Northwest Invite include:
- Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery’s 2014 Old Vine Auxerrois from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley won best of show in 2015.
- Wild Goose Vineyards’ 2012 God’s Mountain Vineyard Riesling from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley won best of show in 2014.
- Seven Falls Cellars’ 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates won best of show in 2013.
Complete results of the 2016 wine competition will be announced Thursday afternoon on Great Northwest Wine.
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