Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition begins today

By on November 6, 2013

Idaho wine country is a diverse growing region.

Idaho not only has 50 wineries, but it also grows a wide variety of wine grapes, including everything from Riesling to Tempranillo. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

HOOD RIVER, Ore. – A new kind of wine competition is taking place this week at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel.

Great Northwest Wine is conducting the inaugural Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition. The judging begins today and concludes Thursday.

Here’s how it works: We enlisted a dozen of the most influential wine professionals in the Pacific Northwest and asked them to nominate up to 100 wines from Washington, Oregon and Idaho. We then invited wineries to enter the nominees.

Now these 12 judges will spend the next two days considering the wines that were entered.

The judges:

All of the wines are being judged blind, meaning the judges do not know the producers, nor do they know the price. They do know the variety or style of wine being tasted – Cabernet Sauvignon or Riesling, for example. After the competition is complete, the judges will have the opportunity to see the wines.

Most competitions, including our Great Northwest Wine Competition, are “open,” meaning any winery may enter any wine. This format puts wine in front of judges who influence or purchase a lot of the wine that is sold to the general public through restaurants and retailers. It also provides wine lovers a look at what these influential wine professionals like.

Results of the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition will be posted soon after the competition is completed Thursday afternoon. However, wines that win gold medals will be posted immediately on Twitter. Follow @GreatNWWine or search for #greatnorthwestwine to find out who won gold medals – even before the judges know which wines they selected.

The concept for the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition was inspired by the Six Nations Wine Challenge, an invitational-style judging that includes wines from Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. In it, one judge from each country nominates and arranges to have his nominations sent to the site of the competition (Australia). Then the six judges taste all 600 entries over the course of several days to determine the top wines.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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