Welcome to the 2021 Monterey International Wine Competition

You are cordially invited to enter the 28th annual Monterey Wine Competition, an international wine competition to be held at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds on March 13, 2021.

What is it that makes Monterey unique among competitions and worthy of your consideration? This year we will again be including scores on all wines rated Gold or above for use in your marketing strategy. I've found in my discussions with wineries that awards are a useful tool in the tasting room and on shelf talkers, but that the power of a two-digit score in today's age of social media is of significant value to wineries that have implemented such strategies into their overall marketing plan. We're offering both, so you can use whatever combination works best for you. In addition, are pleased to partner with the internationally renowned website winereviewonline.com – I personally will review all of our Platinum Award winners with a detailed tasting note that will run on their website as well as ours. WineReviewOnline’s reviews are read by thousands of wine buyers each week.

While the event is called a competition, we are very careful to ensure that wines are evaluated in their own context - in other words, we're not out to say that this particular wine is "better" than that particular wine. It is our sincere desire to celebrate high quality wines of all styles, from all regions of the world.

Our judges are experienced tasters that have significant experience in the industry, running the gamut from marketing consultants that represent large wine portfolios to Master Sommeliers. Judges will be added as we approach the competition - check our website for the most current list. Additionally, COVID-19 protocols have given us a window into how to better ensure that each wine gets to stand on its own merits, and we will implement those practices in 2021. Our special awards will include the Best of Monterey County, Wine of the Year, Winery of the Year and some unique Director's Awards. In addition, award winners will be poured at our Grand Tasting at the Salinas Valley Fair in May, COVID 19 protocols permitting. Check in at montereywinecompetition.com for more details on this as the competition approaches.

Thank you for taking the time to consider the Monterey International Wine Competition - we hope that it's a fit for your marketing strategy, and we look forward to celebrating your winemaking achievements!


Rich Cook, Director & Chief Judge

Best Of Monterey

2017 Cru Winery - Vineyard Montage Chardonnay
Arroyo Secco

Wine Of The Year

2016 ZD Wines - Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Napa Valley

Our Judges

Wayne Belding

Master Sommelier, Boulder, CO

Thrace Bromberger

WALT Wines, Sonoma, CA

Amy Butler

Owner/Winemaker, Ranhero Cellars, Paso Robles, Ca

Anna Marie dos Remedios

Owner/Winemaker, Idle Hour Winery, Carmel Valley, CA

Traci Dutton

Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Calistoga, CA

Tom Stutz

Consulting Winemaker, Santa Rose, CA

Kimberly Charles

Charles Communications Associates, San Francisco, CA

Angie Lazarre

Director/Co-Winemaker, Lazarre Wine

Mike Stepanovich

Wine Writer/Author, Bakersfield, CA

Patrick Muran

Winemaker, Niner Wines, Paso Robles, CA

Laura Ness

Wine Writer, Monterey, CA

Tim McDonald

Dr. Valery Uhl

North of the Gate Wine Competition, Petaluma, CA

Brett Jones

Noble Vines, San Bernabe, CA

Kevin Walsh

WSET Advanced, Henry Wine Group, San Diego, CA

Jon Walton

Subject to Change Wine Co. Oakland, CA

Adam Lazarre

Lazarre Wines, Paso Robles, CA

Ellen Landis

ellenonwine.com, Windsor, CA

The Competition

Award Categories

Judges will award Silver honors to wines that demonstrate above average character for the wine type and place of origin. Gold honors will be awarded to wines that rise above a straightforward recommendation. Platinum awards will be reserved for wines that are the best of the best as selected by our judges. Judges will taste all wines blind, but may ask for information about place of origin or grape varieties included in a blend. Producer, price and vintage will not be disclosed until the close of the competition. The Director may, at his discretion, recognize outstanding performances by an individual winery or importer following tabulation of all results. Awards will be announced at www.montereywinecompetition.com and by regular mail.


Competition Rules

  1. To qualify for entry in the 2021 Monterey Wine Competition a wine must have been produced for commercial sale. Homemade wines will not be accepted for judging.
  2. Each wine's category will be determined by information on the label.
  3. The decision of the judges is final.
  4. The Director reserves the right to create new categories as entries warrant.
  5. Four (4) 750ml or six (6) 375ml bottles comprise a wine entry.
  6. All wines entered must be received by March 7th, 2021.
  7. Make checks payable to Salinas Valley Fair or complete and submit credit card authorization form.

International Wines: The 2021 Monterey Wine Competition accepts entries from commercial wineries worldwide.

Spirits: We are accepting spirits entries as a new aspect of our competition – please visit thedatastill.com to enter spirits – we’re taking all types and origins, mixers and premixed cocktails in any format.  Cheers!

General Questions

Lauren Hamilton
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Competition Questions

Rich Cook, Director
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  • Chief Executive Officer: Lauren Hamilton (Acting)
  • Competition Director: Rich Cook
  • Cellar Master: Janice D’Arcy
  • Staging Manager: Kevin Piearcy
  • Entries & Payments: Lauren Hamilton
  • Administrative Support: Lauren Hamilton
  • Volunteer Coodinator: Terry Lewis