MCMINNVILLE, Ore. — Wineries urge wine competitions to build their judging panels around wine buyers and influentials, so organizers of the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic – SIP! moved in that direction for their 2019 panel.
The fund-raiser for St. James Catholic School in McMinnville has recruited wine buyers, writers, educators, winemakers and chefs to score the Jan. 19 competition. It is an invitation-only judging for Oregon winery participants at the 26th annual festival staged at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in March.
“The McMinnville Wine & Food Classic – SIP! wine competition gets fiercer every year, and so do our judges,” co-organizer Carl Giavanti stated in a news release. “This year’s shaping up to be our most impressive yet. We have ultra-qualified industry professionals who also understand consumer preferences. The medals they award will be a huge feather in the cap for the winning producers.”
Judges on the 2019 panel represent buyers for New Seasons Market, The Wine Shack, The Joel Palmer House and The San Francisco Wine School. Journalists include contributors to regional publications such as Great Northwest Wine, Oregon Wine Press, Sip Northwest Magazine and Wine Press Northwest as well as national publications SOMM Journal, Tasting Panel Magazine, WINO Magazine and The Clever Root.
Results of the competition will be announced immediately following the Jan. 19 judging. Wineries will pour their award-winning entries for the public March 8-10 during Sip McMinnville.
Sip McMinnville among largest wine festivals in NW
Total attendance for the weekend of Sip McMinnville averages between 6,000 and 7,000 during the three days. Organizers boast that more than half of their attendees are repeat patrons, who help support the small Catholic school founded in 1906.
The 170 small, independent producers (SIP) of Oregon craft beverages, food and art set up their booths among the jets, missiles and artifacts from space missions. The 2019 event will mark the 13th consecutive year for the festival to be held at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.
Patrick Spangler of Spangler Vineyards, named as the 2018 Oregon Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest magazine, said, “I’ve been at the McMinnville event ever since I’ve been winemaking, starting in 2005. If I wasn’t a winemaker, this is one of the those that I would actually go to as a consumer. One of the most fun things about it is that you walk around the museum and take a look at the exhibits while you are tasting wine.”
McMinnville Wine and Food Classic judging panel
The panel of judges for 2019 features:
- Hilary Berg, editor of Oregon Wine Press and co-owner of Roots Wine Co.
- Maxine Borcherding, sommelier, food and wine travel guide, operations consultant and wine instructor and former chef instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute.
- Christopher Czarnecki, owner/executive chef/wine program director of acclaimed Joel Palmer House restaurant in Dayton, Ore.
- Eric Degerman, president/CEO of Great Northwest Wine, co-founder of Wine Press Northwest magazine and wine columnist for Portrait of Portland/Portrait of Seattle magazines.
- Carl Giavanti, community organizer, publicist/media consultant for boutique wineries in Oregon.
- Otto Han, wine and beer program manager for New Seasons Market, and former purchaser/program manager for Whole Foods Market, Andronico’s Community Markets and Cost Plus World Market.
- Hoke Harden, a Portland-based consultant, writer and educator.
- Christine Havens, a former winemaker turned wine writer and marketing director based in Portland.
- Erin James, editor-in-chief of Sip Publishing — creators of Sip Northwest, CIDERCRAFT and Sip’s Wine Guide: British Columbia magazines.
- Patrick McElligott, sales and marketing manager for Sineann Winery, former manager of the Oregon Wine Tasting Room.
- Ken Robertson, columnist for Wine Press Northwest, winery tour guide, industry consultant, wine judge and retired editor of Tri-City (Wash.) Herald.
- Steve Sinkler, owner of The Wine Shack retail wine store in Cannon Beach, Ore., and proprietor of Puffin Wines.
- Fred Swan, Bay Area wine and spirits writer, judge, speaker and educator at the San Francisco Wine School.