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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.

Jason and Debora Schultz of Twin Mustang Vineyard on the Vinny Awards red carpet, April 25, 2019 Photo: @GrapeBasinNews

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.

Best in Commercial Divison winners: Joe Bernardo (Basin and Range Cellars); Mike SchoenBaechler (Vegas Valley Winery); Alynn Delisle and Mike Steedman (Nevada Sunset Winery). Vegas Valley also took Best of Show for its 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. Photo: John Macaluso for Grape Basin News

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.

Jim Phelan’s 2016 Zinfandel captured double gold in the home winemaker competition. Photo: John Macaluso for Grape Basin News

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.
More photos below…

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. 

Home competition gold winners at the Nevada Vinny Awards on Aprill 25, 2019. Photo: John Macaluso for Grape Basin News

 

Bronze winners at the Vinny Awards on April 25, 2019. Photo: John Macaluso for Grape Basin News

 

Home winemakers Ingrid and Gunny Benson on the Vinny Awards red carpet on April 25, 2019. Photo: Grape Basin News

 

Home winemaker Janet Senini with Joe Wozniak on the red carpet at the Vinny Awards on April 25, 2019. Photo: Grape Basin News

 

Nevada Vines & Wines president Teri Bath welled up as she presented Joe Bernardo with the All-Star award, for accomplishment and leadership in the Nevada wine community. Photo: John Macaluso for Grape Basin News

 

Pam Tyler and Tim Burke on the red carpet at the Vinny Awards on April 25, 2019. Burke entered the competition as a home winemaker, but plans to open a commercial winery later this year in Pahrump. Photo: Grape Basin News

 

Dave Preston, host of Weekend Magazine, on the red carpet at the Vinny Awards on April 25, 2019. Photo: Grape Basin News

 

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