2015 Washington Wine Awards Methodology and Tasting Panel

In the photo, left to right: Mark Takagi, Regina Daigneault, Paul Zitarelli, Tommy Garland, Jeffrey Dorgan, Lane Hoss, Lisa Rongren, Chris Horn, Bob Betz. Not pictured: Tommy Thompson, Rand Sealey, Joel Butler, Jake Kosseff and Thomas Price

Nominations for this year’s Washington Wine Awards were solicited via survey from a panel of Washington wine and food professionals. The top vote-getters in the wineries, winemaker, vineyard and sommelier categories were selected as winners. The more than 100 wines receiving the most votes in the varietal categories qualified as finalists for a blind tasting, on March 2, 2015, conducted by a panel of 14 industry professionals, and were scored using a 20-point system, awarding points for their appeal in sight, smell and taste. The wine with the most points won. Sparkling wine winners were selected from an open submission using the same metholdology. Winners in each variety category went on to compete for Wine of the Year, and were selected via a show of hands.

Rosé winners were selected at a blind tasting on April 6, 2015, from an open submission of wines, using the same methodology as above, with a panel of five wine judges. For our 10th anniversary, we reached out to wineries whose wines had been declared Wine of the Year in our past tastings for a ten-year retrospective tasting, also on April 6 (see page 92).

Information in the tasting notes was taken from the tasters’ descriptions of the wines. Tasting panelists who are winemakers were excluded from voting in categories in which their wines were entered.   

Seattle magazine’s Washington Wine Awards program is produced by Yashar Shayan.

Tasting Panelists (participated at our March 2, 2015, tasting) 

Nominations for this year’s Washington Wine Awards were solicited via survey from a panel of Washington wine and food professionals. Tasting panelists who are winemakers were excluded from voting in categories in which their wines were finalists. Tasting panelists who were also on the nominating panel are in bold; winemakers on the panel were recused from tasting in any categories in which their wines were a nominee. 

Bob Betz, MW, Betz Family Winery

Joel Butler, MW, co-owner World of Wines/WineKnow LLC

Regina Daigneault, wine studies coordinator, Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College

Jeffrey Dorgan, wine director, Space Needle

Tommy Garland, wine steward, QFC Broadway Market

Chris Horn, wine director, Purple Café & Wine Bar

Lane Hoss, vice president of  marketing and beverage director, Anthony’s Restaurants

Jake Kosseff, partner, Miller’s Guild

Thomas M. Price, MS, Jackson Family Fine Wines

Lisa Rongren, sommelier, The Herbfarm

Rand Sealey, Review of Washington Wines

Mark Takagi, wine director, Metropolitan Market

Tommy Thompson, wine director, Tulalip Resort Casino

Paul Zitarelli, founder/owner, Full Pull Wines

Tasting panelists who are winemakers were excluded from voting in categories in which their wines were entered. 

Survey Panelists (participated via survey only) 

The Herbfarm