Because it's considered a down time in the winery business (personally, I'm not sure there's ever a down time :::sigh:::), most of the wine competitions are held during the late winter and spring. We've heard results from a few, have recently entered a few more, and have a several more coming up in the next few months.
When I came on board full time, I made a commitment to enter more competitions. They're great marketing tools and a lot of folks enjoy seeing their favorites win recognition. But they can be very expensive for a small winery (often over $500 between entry fees, cost of wine sent, and FedEx charges). It's too bad no one ever thinks about charging fees based on winery size... we currently pay the same as Gallo and Mondavi! And they take quite a bit of time to pull everything together. But a winery that is ignoring wine competitions is like an ostrich with its head in the sand. They can't be ignored or it really just hurts the winery doing the ignoring.
Anyway, recently we heard good news from two competitions we entered just before we left for Albuquerque. It was just the first year for the National Women's Wine Competition but they received over 1800 wine entries. Over 130 wineries that entered won no medals, with over 65% of the medals going to California wineries. We were extremely pleased to receive four medals: Silver for CraneBerry and Miel Amour (our new Spiced Asian Pear Mead) and Bronze for Serenade and Rhapsody in Red. And at the recent Finger Lakes International Wine Competition we received a Silver medal for Serenade and Bronze medals for CraneBerry, Rhapsody in Red, Raspberry, Dry Vignoles, and Staccato.
Earlier this week we sent just a few wines to the International Eastern Wine Competition and more to the Taster's Guild International Wine Judging (they're in Michigan -- it seems right to really support them). It's always interesting to see what happens. After helping out at a competition we know how much it means to luck into the right judge for the right wine. But Holly makes great wines so we always have faith in the system, and are always rewarded for that faith.