2020 Nevada Wine Competition Proceeds: Plenty of Great Wine, No Vinny Awards

The pandemic threw a monkey wrench into the annual celebration of Nevada’s winemakers, but organizers say Covid-19 restrictions presented a few unexpected benefits.

Ribbons from the 2020 Nevada Vines & Wines competition. Photo courtesy of Nevada Vines & Wines

A smaller team of wine judges was recruited, for physical distancing. Less manpower meant the judging had to be conducted over two days instead of one. The result was a more relaxed pace, with greater focus, and the opportunity for good discussions about the wines.

The judges – all of whom were part of the 2019 competition – commented that Nevada’s winemakers are coming into their own, according to Teri Bath, president of Nevada Vines & Wines.

Judge Kathy Halbardier said the wine reflects a community of Nevada winemakers that are working together to share techniques. The quality of Nevada wines has improved “very significantly,” she said.

“What I found is that the winemakers’ skill set and their camaraderie… is coming through,” Halbardier told Grape Basin News. “You could tell that they made good winemaking practices and decisions along the way.”

Nevada’s 2020 competition was one short of matching the number of entries from last year – 39 wines from the state’s commercial winemakers, and 73 wines made by hobbyists, for a total of 112. The judging panel was comprised of experienced people. Three of the four have judged in California’s prestigious Bottle Shock home winemaking competition.

Covid-19 considerations forced cancellation of the Vinny Awards show, which had been scheduled for August. Competition winners were instead notified by email. Grape Basin News would have been producer and title sponsor of a 2020 show.

Below are the 2019 Best of Category awards.

Commercial winnners
Best of Show Vegas Valley Winery (Henderson) Muscat Canelli
Best of Class White Nevada Sunset Winery (Reno) Riesling
Best of Class Red Nevada Sunset Winery (reno) Frontenac/Lemberger Blend
Best of Class Dessert Vegas Valley Winery (Henderson Muscat Canelli

Homemade wine winners
Best of Show Greg and Susan Ross (Walker River) Grüner Veltliner
Best of Class White Greg and Susan Ross (Walker River) Grüner Veltliner
Best of Class Rose’ Greg and Susan Ross (Walker River) Zweigelt Rose’
Best of Class Red Steve & Becky Bamberger (Reno) Primitivo
Best of Fruit – Paul Freeman (Las Vegas) Crandberry

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