Vegas Valley Winery, Twin Mustang Vineyard Grab Top Honors at Expanded Vines & Wines Competition
Links to competition results are posted at the end of the story.
A bid by Nevada Vines & Wines to enhance its annual competition for Nevada winemakers played out on Thursday, with 132 attendees at a show that featured comedy sketches, mock commercials by winemakers, and dozens of award-winning wines.
Vines & Wines president Teri Bath noted that the 2019 Nevada Vinny Awards fulfilled several goals. It was the first Nevada wine competition to recognize the state’s new and fast-growing commercial wine sector. The number of commercial wineries in Nevada has doubled since 2015, when the state lifted a statutory ban on tasting rooms in Clark and Washoe Counties.
Vines & Wines, a northern Nevada non-profit devoted to promoting Nevada wine, also increased the geographic area of competition, with entries coming from Sacramento and southern Nevada. Previous years drew entries only from northern Nevada. Bath said her group has long sought an alliance between the northern and southern Nevada wine communities, which are separated by geography and by culture. Reaching out to invite southern winemakers into the competition was a step toward a building a collegial relationship between the two regions, she said.
Nevada Vines & Wines partnered in summer of 2018 with this publication to produce Thursday night’s show. The program included comedy sketches putting the focus on challenges faced by Nevada’s commercial wineries. In a sketch called “That’s Illegal,” a winemaker learns from a Nevada Department of Taxation auditor that almost every plan she has for her winery is illegal. Another sketch highlighting wine snobbery was a parody of the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham,” featuring a wine shop customer who refused to taste Nevada wine.
The Nevada Vinny Awards show provided public recognition for the winners of the annual competition, which was until this year limited to home winemakers. The competition took place on March 23, with judges from varied backgrounds in winemaking or related fields. Home and commercial wines were judged as separate categories, and did not compete against each other.
Best of Show award for the commercial category went to Vegas Valley Winery for its 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. Mike Schoenbaechler is Vegas Valley’s winemaker. Jason and Debora Schultz got the home winemaker Best of Show award for their 2018 Twin Mustang Frontenac Gris.
Complete lists of commercial and home winemaker awards are posted on the Nevada Vines & Wines website. The 2019 competition grew by 75 percent from 2018, and was more than twice as large as the 2017 competition.
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Disclosure: Grape Basin News was the producer of the 2019 Nevada Vinny Awards show on April 25, 2019. Grape Basin News was not involved in organizing or judging the Nevada Vines & Wines 2019 winemaker competition. Grape Basin News attended the judging on March 23, 2019, as an observer. Grape Basin News was not paid, and did not collect any compensation from sponsors or any other entity for the Vinny Awards show production, which was undertaken as a pro bono project.