Have you heard the exciting news? V. Sattui Winery stole the show at the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and you can bet we’re still celebrating! The competition, which is known to be the largest competition of North American Wines had over 60 judges representing various wine regions, evaluating 5,500 wines from nearly 1,000 wineries this year. This year also marked a special one as we were able to host the judges celebratory dinner after two years of postponement due to the pandemic.
“There was a celebratory feeling at this year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. In January, the contest’s judges gathered for a spectacular dinner at V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena — the first such dinner that the competition had held since January 2020. It was great to be back together again, sharing delicious food and wine with respected colleagues.”
Award-Winning Wines, Year After Year
Out of thousands of entries, V. Sattui Winery is proud to have received numerous awards at this year’s competition! Most exciting to note are our 2020 Napa Valley Chardonnay securing Sweepstakes Winner and Best White Wine and our 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon winning Best of Class. Also included in V. Sattui’s 2023 wins were 11 Double Golds, and 5 Golds.
“New kids on the block tend to draw attention, but it’s the longtime neighbors who can be relied upon for equilibrium, character and trust, and the same could be said for wine as well as people.” – Mike Dunne’s 2023 Best of Class Tasting Notes
All-in-all, this year’s SF Chronicle Wine Competition was a success! We are proud to have received such prestigious recognition, which was a testament to the dedication and intention we put into every bottle of wine we produce.
Honoring Sweepstakes Winning Winemaker, Brooks Painter
Also worth celebrating is V. Sattui’s Director of Winemaking, Brooks Painter, who was honored as the White Sweepstakes Winner for our 2020 Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Since 2005, Painter has been responsible for our portfolio of over 60 different wines and manages V. Sattui’s viticultural and grape-growing operations, supervising 300 acres of estate vineyards. Born in San Francisco and raised in Northern California, Painter has been called “the winemaker’s winemaker” because of his expertise and prominence as a wine industry leader. In 2013, Painter was named “Winemaker of the Year” at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and again at the American Fine Wine Competition in 2015. We are thrilled to have him on our team and congratulate his many achievements over the years, including this recent SF Chronicle Wine Competition award!
Celebratory Judges Dinner — “Third time’s the charm.”
One of the many unique events involved in the annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the Judges Dinner. Hosted by a different winery every year, we were honored to take on the job in January 2021, however, when the pandemic hit, the event was sadly postponed, then again in 2022, until we were given the official go-head this year in 2023!
“Crafting fine wine is a slow, carefully thought-out process. So the team at V. Sattui Winery was prepared with its well-honed, patient skills for the long, crawling course it took for them to finally welcome the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition judges to their annual celebratory dinner.”
V. Sattui’s President Tom Davies welcomed the judges to the elegant barrel cellar of our St. Helena winery, joking, “I guess the third time’s the charm.”
During an evening full of joyous laughter, the judges enjoyed a much-deserved night sipping V. Sattui’s award-winning wines and biting into delicious chef-prepared hors d’oeuvres and meals. They also caught up with their colleagues, discussing the highs and lows of their long days determining the winners of this year’s competition. San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Director Bob Fraser expressed his gratitude to the judges, saying, “This night is for you, the judges… the amount of work and diligence and mental taxation it takes to come up with the medals. This is our thank you.”
The judges’ dinner offers more than just an upscale, multi-course, wine-paired meal. It provides judges with insight into some of the area’s most notable wineries and their unique histories as they take on the hosting job. For V. Sattui—with our history dating all the way back to 1885—we were honored to have the opportunity to share our story with this special audience.
Sharing Our Roots
Originally founded by Italian immigrant Vittorio Sattui, and then not-so-briefly closed during Prohibition, V. Sattui was reopened again in 1975 by Vittorio’s great-grandson, Dario Sattui. “I had no money and I had no wine knowledge,” he said in a special video shared during the dinner. “Other than that, I had everything going.”
Despite the obstacles, Dario’s unique idea to implement an unusual business model for the time (a winery with the feel of a small European village and a direct-to-consumer approach to sales) proved successful, and today, V. Sattui Winery produces 50,000 cases of wine each year and attracts nearly 300,000 annual visitors from around the world.
In all, we are extremely proud of our achievements at the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and look back at the memories made at the Judges Dinner with delight. V. Sattui received a total of 31 awards, including the highest honor of White Sweepstakes winner for our 2020 Napa Valley Chardonnay and Best of Class for our 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. For us, it was well worth the three year wait.
We look forward to many years of continuing our tradition of creating premium wines that are recognized by industry experts as much as they are by friends and families.