The Harvest Challenge is a wine competition that bases its judging on a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and wine making savoir-faire, which contribute to give the specific personality to the wine.
In other competitions, this factor is ignored. At the Harvest Challenge, judges taste wines with other wines of the same appellation. Thus, with cross-regional competition removed, the inherent quality of wines can be seen without the influences that sometimes eclipse even a wine of very high quality.
Beyond the determination of medals, the Harvest Challenge affords its winners a unique selling proposition - its region ranked against its competitors. Harvest Challenge recognizes wine entries that best exemplify the soil and climate of their respective viticultural areas, and acknowledges its influence on wine quality. A medal in this wine competition not only gives your wine prestige and selling power, it adds talking points in your retail room. Favorable awards support increased local and regional sales. A win in the Harvest Challenge can put your wine into a whole new sales category.
A goal of Harvest Challenge is to learn how soil and climate contribute to the excellence and distinctiveness of wines. Over the course of this event, judges have learned to recognize when a wine's region is - and is not - a factor of wine quality. We think the bar has been lifted a little, and as a result, each year we perceive greater interest by winemakers and critics alike. Favorable awards support increased local and regional sales. A win in the Harvest Challenge can put your wine into a whole new sales category. All wines are judged in the context of their viticultural region in order to accomplish two things: greater sensitivity to the complexities and nuances of regional wines and also to measure the influence of regional soil and weather characteristics on the taste and quality of individual wines.
According to Harvest Challenge spokesman, Christopher Sawyer, "The Harvest Challenge is a judge’s dream come true. Beyond varietal category and price point, this one-of-a-kind competition is based on appellation instead of mass-production. The end result is more definition of
the wines made with grapes inside the boundaries of a specific viticultural area and distinct flavors that have helped wines rise to the top of the scale in the global marketplace."
harvest challenge spokesperson:
“The Sommelier to the Stars” | Sonoma County, CA
A recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including 2009 Best Sommelier of Sonoma County, and official Sommelier Star Host of the 2011 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Christopher Sawyer is an internationally-renowned sommelier, consultant, critic, public speaker and elite wine competition judge who travels the world exploring and sharing the latest trends in wine. Sawyer has been a personal sommelier for an array of luminaries, from the Getty Family to the Gorbachevs, as well as for Pixar/Disney's John Lasseter. Since 2005, Sawyer has the sommelier and wine educator at Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar at The Lodge at Sonoma, a Renaissance Resort and Spa.