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June 19, 2024

Over 700 wines expected at 26th annual Monterey International Wine Competition

KING CITY — Monterey International Wine Competition (MIWC) will host its 26th annual international wine competition March 9 at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City.

From its inception, the competition has pursued one goal: to honor the efforts of dedicated winemakers by recognizing their accomplishments through the award of medals. While the event is called a competition, it is very careful to ensure that the wines are evaluated in their own context — in other words, the competition is not out to say that “this wine is better than that wine.”

The MIWC celebrates high quality wines of all styles, from all regions of the world. The 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. Cumulatively, they have nearly 200 years of judging experience.

Several judges have been selected from the Central Coast, including Anna Marie Dos Remedios of Carmel Valley, Brett Jones of San Bernarbe, Amy Butler of Paso Robles, John Shiltz of Attascadero as well as former King City residents Jon Walton of Napa and Adam and Angie Lazarre of Paso Robles.  

During the competition, judges will award Silver honors to wines that demonstrate above average character for the wine type and place of origin; Gold honors to wines that rise above a straightforward recommendation; and Platinum awards for wines nominated for Best of Show in the categories of sparkling, rose, white, red and dessert.

“Our competition offers medals, scores, regional awards, public tasting opportunities and social media promotion for our top award winners. This way, wineries can select all or part of what they are awarded to use as befits their marketing programs,” explained Rich Cook, the competition’s chief wine judge and competition director.

In 2015, the competition added special awards to recognize local vintners with the Best of Monterey County award. Last year’s winner was the 2016 Hahn Family Wines, Syrah Santa Lucia Highlands Estate Vineyard (96 points).

Organizing an event of this size is an undertaking that utilizes the skills from the Salinas Valley Fair staff and over 60 volunteers, some traveling as far as Texas, to help out with the event. Organizers also rely on their longtime volunteers Paul Beckett, Bill Hunt, Sharon Pursley, Paul Slocum and Robin Slocum, who have been working the event for 25 years.

“It’s fun to work with friendly, professional volunteers that love wine and discovering wine from throughout the world,” said TJ Plew, Salinas Valley Fair CEO. “Our volunteers not only help to run a top-notch competition, they also help us to raise necessary funding for our nonprofit fair.” 

For over 25 years, the Monterey Wine Competition has been a fundraiser for the annual Salinas Valley Fair.

Judging is a private event; the public is invited to taste the winning wines on May 16 at the Grand Tasting, sponsored by RaboBank, during the annual Salinas Valley Fair in King City.