Departments — 23 January 2018
Top U.S. wines named at Florida wine event

By Mark Gauert

City & Shore Magazine

Wines from California emerged from the smoke and fire that swept Sonoma and Napa counties last fall to take most of the medals this year at South Florida’s home-grown American Fine Wine Competition – although wines from New York and Ohio uncorked surprise wins in two of the four “Best of Show” categories.

The 28 judges – sommeliers, wine educators and restaurateurs from South Florida and beyond – blind tasted more than 630 wines from throughout the United States at the 11th annual judging Jan. 14-15 at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University in North Miami. The number of wines in the invitational competition was down from the record 850 entered last year, organizers said, partly because some California wineries are still recovering from the fires, and partly because of lower yields among wineries overall in the 2015 vintage year.

“Thankfully the wineries, the majority of them, are fine, [and so] are the vineyards,” said Shari Gherman, president and co-founder of the AFWC. “The fires did not affect the wines from this year’s judging, in fact, they won’t even affect the wines from the 2017 vintage.”

Top wines from the competition will be poured 6:30-11 p.m. May 5 at the annual American Fine Wine Competition Charity Gala at Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale. The event, which benefits the Autism Society of Florida, will feature a sparkling reception, wine and wine-country trip auctions, dinner, live music and dancing. Tickets are $300 and available at

“We want to point the public to America’s finest wines, to become the most trusted source of information about finding quality wines,” said Greg Miseyko, Chief Judge and Judging Coordinator, a Boca Raton resident who has been studying wine for 42 years. “[The judges] take their time and really care about getting it right.”

The Best of Show and Best of Class winning wines follow – the complete results from the American Fine Wine Competition will be announced on Jan. 29.


Sparkling Wine

Domaine Carneros 2011 Le Rêve, Carneros, Calif. ($110)

White Wine

Fox Run Vineyards 2015 Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York ($18)

Red Wine

Carol Shelton Wines 2013 Petite Sirah “Florence”, Dry Creek, Calif. ($40)

Sweet/Dessert Wine

Ferrante Winery Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Geneva, Ohio 2016 ($30)


Sauvignon Blanc: TIE!  Hoopes Family Vineyard 2016, Napa, Calif. ($35)

and Kelleher Family Vineyard 2016, Napa, Calif. ($34)

Chardonnay: Eleven Eleven Wines 2015, Napa, Calif. ($95)

Dry Rosé: Shadowbox Cellars 2016, Napa, Calif. ($35)

Pinot Noir: Mi Sueño Winery 2013, Napa., Calif. ($55)

Zinfandel: Brown Estate Chiles Valley 2015, Napa, Calif. ($55)

Cabernet Franc: Detert Family Vineyards 2015, Napa, Calif. ($95)

Merlot: Muscardini Cellars 2015, Sonoma, Calif. ($60)

Syrah: Klinker Brick “Farrah” 2014, Lodi, Calif. ($65)

Red Bordeaux-style Blend: Ahnfeldt Wines “Quid Pro Quo” 2015, Napa, Calif. ($59)

Cabernet Sauvignon: Frank Family Vineyards Rutherford Reserve 2015, Napa, Calif. ($95)

Other Red Single Varietal: VIE Winery “L’Intruse” Mourvedre 2014, Santa Barbara County, Calif. ($45)

Grenache VIE Winery “L’Imaginaire” 2014, Santa Barbara County, Calif. ($45)

Other White Single Varietal: Reustle-Prayer Rock Vyds, Gruner Veltliner “Smaragd” 2015, Roseburg, Oregon ($25)

Other Red Blend: Buena Vista Winery: “The Sheriff” 2016, Sonoma, Calif. ($40)

COMPLETE RESULTS, including Double Gold, Gold and Silver medalists, are available here,


PHOTO: Students from the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University pour wines for Peg SanFelippo and the other judges in a blind-tasting at the 11th Annual American Fine Wine Competition in North Miami. Photo by Mark Gauert

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