Gold medal wines in La Jolla

Winemakers, wine writers, educators, wine trade professionals and wine enthusiasts gathered downtown at the Westgate Hotel April 19th and 20th to judge 2,060 commercially available wines from around the world at the San Diego International Wine Competition. All entries are tasted “blind,” meaning that the judges have no idea what wine they are tasting, simply that they are analyzing the product in front of them on its own merit. Having such a diverse panel provides a broad spectrum of knowledge and backgrounds to draw from when judging the competition wines. The end goal being to produce impartial results that provide top notch feedback for producers as well as directing consumers to truly special wines in what can often be a dizzying world of retail shelves.

Robert Whitley, competition director for the last five years, likes to look at the overall brands who win a volume of medals in addition to the color of medals won by individual wines. By doing so, he is able to single out up-and-coming producers, as well as the more established ones who produce quality across the board. Wineries such as Bogle and Kendall-Jackson had stellar showings in this regard.

Whitley recognizes that competitions such as these are not absolutely perfect, but that has to do mostly with the nature of wine. As he wrote in his April 23 wine blog posted at, “Any winemaker will tell you that the tasting notes on a single barrel of wine vary from week to week and month to month. Even with quality wines, there is no straight line in the evolution of a wine from the time of bottling until it reaches its peak. It’s all hills and valleys, and a young wine has to hit it just right when it’s sitting in front of a panel of judges.”

Only 5.6 percent of the wines entered in this year’s competition won a gold medal. Of those, a few entries of unique quality are selected to go to the “sweepstakes” round where the Best of Show in each category is selected. The list below includes only gold medal, sweepstakes and Best of Show winners, where they can be found and their price. For a complete list of winners or more information on the San Diego International Wine Competition, visit

  1. Enjoy!

Vons La Jolla

  • Artesa Winery, 2006 Pinot Noir Reserve Estate, $40
  • Bonny Doon Winery, 2006 Big House Pink, $10
  • Mount Veeder, 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, $39
  • Nobilo, 2007 Pinot Gris-Regional Collection, $12

Jonathan’s of La Jolla

  • Henriot, NV Blanc Souverain Brut, $33
  • Plungerhead 2005 Zinfandel, Old Vine, $19

BevMo La Jolla

  • Ballatore, NV Gran Spumante, $7
  • Barefoot Cellars, NV Chardonnay, $5
  • Bogle, 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, $9
  • Cask and Cream, NV Chocolate Temptation, $11
  • Charles Krug 2005, Cabernet Sauvignon Peter Mondavi Family, $25
  • Dry Creek Vineyard, 2004 The Mariner, $40
  • Frank Family Vineyards, 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, $45
  • Frank Family Vineyards, 2006 Chardonnay, $33
  • J. Lohr Vineyards and Winery, 2007 Valdiguie Wildflower, $7
  • Matua Valley, 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, $13
  • Mumm Napa Valley, NV Brut Prestige, $15
  • Pacific Rim Winemakers, 2006 Vin de Glaciere, $15
  • Ravenswood Winery, 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Coast, $16
  • Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, 2006 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, $15
  • Toasted Head, 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, $14