McIlroy Cellars Pinot Noir From Russian River Takes Best of Show

At East Meets West 2020:

Prairie Creek Vineyard Edelweiss from Nebraska Wins Best of Show White

Riesling Challenge Declared a Tie


Santa Rosa, Calif., —February 7, 2020 — The West Coast took top honors for Best Red, Best Dessert, Best Rosé and Best Of Show at this year’s East Meets West Wine Competition, a joint competition that pits the best of the East Coast against the best of the West. A tie occurred between the Rieslings from both coasts in the Riesling Challenge.

Winning Best Red and then Best of Show of East Meets West was the 2018 McIlroy Cellars Russian River Pinot Noir, which scored 99 points in the preliminary judging. Best White went to the 2019 Edelweiss from Prairie Creek Vineyard & Winery (NE), a hybrid crossbred for cold hardiness. Taking Best of Show Sparkling was a Blanc de Blancs made of 100% Chardonnay from Bowers Harbor Vineyards (MI), which was also named Best Sparkling East. Sonoma-Cutrer took Best Dessert West and Best Dessert of Show for their 2018 Late Harvest Chardonnay from Russian River (CA). A 2018 Eberle Rosé of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre Rosé from Paso Robles was named Best Rosé West, and Best Rosé of Show. Best of Show Cider went to Common Cider (Auburn, CA) NV Blood Orange Tangerine Sparkling Hard Cider.

This year’s Riesling Challenge was declared a tie between the two entries in the final Sweepstakes: Wollersheim Winery          (WI) 2018 Dry Riesling, which won Best of Class East and the Hagafen (CA) 2019 Lake County White Riesling, which won Best of Class West, share the honors this year.

Best of West Sparkling went to a 2012 Brut from Robledo Family Winery (Sonoma), while Best Of West White went to the 2018 Pinot Gris from Gray Monk Cellars in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Best of East Red went to the 2018 Cabernet Franc from Peller Estates (Ontario, Canada), Best of East Rosé went to a 2018 blend of Pinot Meunier and Merlot from Tabor Hill (MI), and Best of East Dessert went to a Raspberry Wine from Holy-Field Vineyard and Winery (KS).

This year, over 950 wines from both coasts competed for Best of Class honors in many categories. There were 38 entries in the final Sweepstakes Round:


East Coast Sweepstakes Wines

Best of Show Sparkling; Best Sparkling East: Bowers Harbor Vineyards, 2016 Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Evan

Best of Show White Wine; Best of East White: Prairie Creek Vineyard & Winery 2019 Edelweiss

Best of East Red Wine: Peller Estates Family Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Franc

Best of East Rosé: Tabor Hill Winery 2018 Rosé

Best of East Fruit/Dessert Wine: Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery NV “Over The Rainbow” Raspberry

Bishops Orchards Winery (CT) NV Honey Peach Melba Dessert, Best of Class East

Bluestone Vineyard (VA) 2018 Petit Manseng, Best of Class East

Chateau Morrisette (VA) 2017 Petit Verdot, Best of Class East

Fox Hollow Vineyards (NJ) 2018 Chardonnay, Best of Class East

San Sebastian Winery (FL) NV Vintners White, Carlos, Best of Class East

Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard (MD) 2018 Viognier, Best of Class East

Trecini Vineyards 2015 Barbera (Italy), Best of Class East

Trump Winery (VA) 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Best of Class East

Wayne Gretzky Estates (Ontario, Canada) 2018 Whisky Oak Aged Wine Red (74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot), Best of Class East

Wollersheim Winery (WI) 2018 Dry Riesling, Best of Class East

Wollersheim Winery (WI) 2019 Eagle White (50% St. Pepin, 50% LaCrosse), Best of Class East


West Coast Sweepstakes Wines

Best of Show Red Wine; Best of Show East Meets West: McIlroy Cellars 2018 Pinot Noir

Best of Show Rosé: Eberle 2018 Cotes-du-Robles Rosé

Best of Show Dessert/Late Harvest: Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards 2018 Late Harvest Chardonnay

Best of Show Cider: Common Cider NV Blood Orange Tangerine Sparkling Hard Cider

Best of Show White Wine West: Gray Monk Estate Winery 2018 Pinot Gris

Best of Sparkling West: Robledo Family Winery 2012 Cuvée Brut

Arrington Vineyards (TX) 2018 Kinzey Reserve (94% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Vidal Blanc, 3% Traminette), Best of Class West

Barefoot (CA) NV Moscato, Best of Class West

Carol Shelton Wines (CA) 2018 “Wild Thing” Chardonnay, Best of Class West

Carol Shelton Wines (CA) 2018 Coquille Blanc (Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne) Best of Class West

Eberle (CA) 2019 Muscat Canelli, Best of Class West

Hagafen (CA) 2019 Lake County White Riesling, Best of Class West

Jeff Runquist (CA) 2017 Tannat, Best of Class West

Jeff Runquist (CA) 2017 Petit Verdot, Best of Class West

Jeff Runquist (CA) 2017 Zinfandel Cooper Vineyard, Best of Class West

La Storia (CA) 2017 Cuvée 32 (40% Montepulciano, 8% Malbec, 3% Cab Franc), Best of Class West

Miro Cellars (CA) 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pine Mountain Reserve, Best of Class West

Miro Cellars (CA) 2018 Cuvée Sasha (80% Grenache, 20% Syrah), Best of Class West

Mystic Hills Vineyard (CA) 2014 Malbec, Best of Class West

Rodney Strong Vineyards (CA) 2016 Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Best of Class West

StoneRiver Winery (OR) 2018 Albarino, Best of Class West

Wakefield/Taylors (Australia) 2017 St Andrews Shiraz, Best of Class West


Wine Competition Director, Debra Del Fiorentino, shared an interesting backstory with respect to the Pinot Noir. The McIlroy Pinot and the Rodney Strong Pinot were each highly rated in their class of Pinots, $20.01 to $40, both scoring 99 points in the preliminary round of judging. They were sent up for Best of Class consideration by two different judging panels. Being so close in score, Del Fiorentino asked two other panels to taste and rank them. One panel voted for the McIlroy and the other for the Rodney Strong, so both went to the Sweepstakes round. There, it was up to the entire field of judges to decide which might win. Bear in mind the Pinots were up against a field of strong reds, but in the first round of Sweepstakes voting, they both received 11 votes each, with a close second going to an Italian Type Red Blend. On second round balloting, the two Pinots faced off, with the McIlroy winning by a single vote, 10 to 9, over the Rodney Strong. Every vote counts.

The McIlroy Cellars Pinot then went head-to-head with the Best of East Coast Red, a Cabernet Franc from Peller Estates, for Best of Show Red honors. The Pinot was a clear winner, by 14 votes to 5.

Said Del Fiorentino of this year’s competition, “I was particularly impressed with the high scores for the Best of Class winning wines, plus there were many more Double Golds than in the past, reflecting the overall quality of the entries. We can celebrate the brilliant winemaking exhibited from coast to coast in this unique competition, and especially from the Midwest, which showed really well this year. Our country may be divided, but we can sure unite over one important thing common to nearly every state in our union: great wine!”

Winners will be listed on An overview article will also appear online at and in a future issue of award-winning Spirited magazine, a nationally distributed adult beverage trade publication.


About Wine Competitions Management & Production (WCMP)

This organization owns and operates a variety of competitions including West Coast Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition, East Meets West, International Women’s Wine Competition, Harvest Challenge, the Craft Distillers Spirits Competition, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, Sunset International Wine Competition, Sunset International Spirits Competition and Experience Rosé. WCMP also manages the California Cider Competition and the Mendocino Apple Show International Cider Competition.



Debra Del Fiorentino

Founder and President

Wine Competitions Management & Productions


Press releases are generated outside of Spirited magazine and the information contained does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Spirited or its parent company, Sonoma Media Investments.