The results of the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition where announced over the weekend. This year, for reasons mentioned earlier, we had no wine in the event. However, I am still interested in the results since the Chronicle is the largest American wine competition. As such, it provides an annual snapshot of the quality of wine region.

I am particularly interested in the wines that win the best of class award. There are about 170 different classes categorized by varietal and price point. To win best of class, the wine has to be awarded a double gold medal by unanimous vote. After all the wines are judged, the double gold medal winners are re-examined a second time. The best of these are given Best of Class awards.

Because they are judged twice, the best of class award guarantees a wine is of exceptional quality. This year, Livermore Valley captured 4% of these medals. At first look, this may seem a small number, especially given that both Napa Valley and Sonoma each earned about 10% of the total number of awards. But when normalized to the size of the district (total tonnage harvested), Livermore captured the largest number of best of class awards of any district in the country. This year is no isolated incident. In each of the last several years, Livermore Valley has claimed a disproportionate share of best of class awards.

So, what does all this mean for our valley? It means what I have been saying for a decade – that there is gold in our hills, that Livermore has always been an exceptional region for growing wine. The locals know this. Now, it is time to let the world know it.

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