SAN FRANCISCO — Fifty Masters of Wine (MWs) from 16 countries participated in a once-in-a-lifetime tour of California wines in late October which showcased 600 wines from 60 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) throughout the state and 300 vintners. Touring California wine regions for 10 days through the Central Coast and North Coast areas, and tasting wines from across the state, the highly regarded group included sommeliers, wine retailers, restaurateurs, wine writers and other leaders in the global hospitality industry. The event, the Masters of Wine “California Dreamin’ Tour,” was a collaboration between Wine Institute and the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine.
“We were so thrilled to have these MWs join our landmark event and meet many of the best ambassadors from the Golden State wine world,” said Linsey Gallagher, Wine Institute Vice President of International Marketing. “These wine industry influencers are key to enhancing consumer and trade perceptions of our wines and expanding export sales. U.S. wine exports, more than 90% from California, reached $1.53 billion in winery revenues in 2017, and have grown nearly 70% by value in the past decade.”
Photos of the Masters of Wine tour can be downloaded here. Below are some highlights.
|CDFA Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross helped officially open the program, and spoke about California’s work on climate change, water and land conservation. (Elaine Chukan Brown photo)||The MWs attended a tasting of Rhône-style wines from Santa Barbara County at Stolpman Vineyards in the Ballard Canyon AVA. (Alycia Moreno photo)|
|Bien Nacido vintner Nicholas Miller (right) and winemaker Trey Fletcher presented wines from Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara. (Alycia Moreno photo)||Vintner Jason Haas led a tour of Tablas Creek Vineyard, followed by a Rhône component tasting with Paso Robles winemakers. (Elaine Chukan Brown photo)|
|A panel of Paso Robles vintners explored the role of phenolics in the winemaking process at a tasting of the region’s wines at Daou Vineyards.||Vintner Paul Draper discussed the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA and wines during a Monte Bello Winery tour, followed by a 53-year retrospective of Ridge wines and dinner. (Alycia Moreno photo)|
|A tasting with 20 Sonoma County wineries was held at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville. (Alycia Moreno photo)||The history of California Chardonnays was presented by writer Elaine Chukan Brown at La Crema Winery, Healdsburg, followed by a lunch with wines from the North Coast and Central Coast. (Alycia Moreno photo)|
|At Timber Cove Lodge on the Sonoma Coast, the MW group experienced a truly blind tasting of wines from across the state, led by Hoby Wedler, PhD.||Timber Cove was also the venue for tastings of California’s cool-climate wines, including Pinot Noir and sparking wine. (Alycia Moreno photo)|
|At Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, a panel of consulting winemakers shared their experiences in Napa Valley and beyond.||MW guests enjoyed a food truck dinner and tasting of 100-plus Napa Valley wines with 50 vintners at Robert Mondavi Winery. (Alycia Moreno photo)|
COMMENTS FROM MW PARTICIPANTS
“I hope you are confident that you will have boosted the international reputation of California wine to a serious degree.” – John Hoskins MW, M.D. Huntsbridge Ltd., UK
“I will certainly be listing more Californian wines once the new business is up and running as there were many that were delicious and that I felt would suit my clients.” – Victoria Stephens-Clarkson, MW, VSC Wine and Drink Ltd., UK
“I believe this has opened up many eyes as to the unique and delicious aspects of California wine. Hopefully there will be much writing about and purchasing of CA wines as a result of this trip.” – Dr. Liz Thach, MW, professor, Sonoma State University, & wine journalist
Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of more than 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. Wine Institute’s California Wine Export Program has more than 175-member wineries exporting to 138 countries. The program’s 15 representative offices conduct activities in 25 countries.
The Institute of Masters of Wine is a professional education and examination organization based in the United Kingdom that awards the Master of Wine (MW) title to those who pass the MW examination. The MW qualification is regarded as one of the highest standards of professional knowledge in the world of wine. The 380 MWs are working in 30 countries across five continents. IMW was formed in 1955 by the group who passed the inaugural exam in 1953.