The Ninth Annual Bon Appetit Magazine Winery of the Year is Kendall-Jackson, which earned the honor at the 20th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition by winning 21 medals for 12 distinct varietals. Kendall-Jackson earned more medal points than any of the other 659 wineries entered in the prestigious competition.

Among the Kendall-Jackson medals were Golds for the Grand Reserve Pinot Noir, Vintner's Reserve® Cabernet Sauvignon and Vintner's Reserve® Chenin Blanc, all from the 1997 vintage.

A total of 2,783 wines were entered by wineries from 16 countries and 22 American states. The judging panel of 42 professional sommeliers, wine writers and industry professionals awarded just 86 Golds.

Under the leadership and direction of noted wine critic Anthony Dias Blue, wine and spirits editor for Bon Appetit Magazine, the San Francisco competition has earned a worldwide reputation based on the quality of its tasting panel and its rigorous standards, which often results in a smaller percentage of gold and double gold medals awarded than at many other competitions.

Serving on the tasting panel this year were such noted wine critics as: Frank Prial, New York Times; Steven Spurrier, Decanter Magazine; Larry Stone, MS, Rubicon Restaurant; Dan Berger, Vintage Experiences; and Doug Frost, MS/MW, wine journalist; along with judges representing distributors, retailers and wine appreciation groups.

While best known for producing the popular Vintner's Reserve® Chardonnay, Kendall-Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom said he was most excited about the quality judgment demonstrated by the medals awarded to the broad array of Kendall-Jackson® wines. Medals were won by Kendall-Jackson® Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Muscat Canelli and Gewurztraminer at the Vintner's Reserve®, Grand Reserve and Designated Vineyard tiers. "This shows our winemakers are producing top-quality wines no matter the varietal," he said.

An additional 10 medals were won by other wineries in the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates group, including awards to Edmeades, Pepi, La Crema, Camelot and Calina, the KJWE estate winery from Chile.

Ullom said winemakers welcome the chance to gain feedback from wine critics.

"A panel as distinguished as the one which gathers each year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition offers a unique opportunity to learn how our wines stand against the finest wines in the world," he said. Judging at the San Francisco event is based on a blind, consensual scoring method.

In fact, noted Ullom, Kendall-Jackson Winery has been awarded 283 medals in two dozen competitions around the world so far in 2000. Double Gold/Best of Class Awards have been earned this year for the 1998 Vintner's Reserve® Chardonnay, the 1997 and 1998 Vintages of the Camelot Vineyard Single Vineyard Series Chardonnay, the 1998 Vintner's Reserve® Sauvignon Blanc, and the 1997 vintages of the Grand Reserve Zinfandel and Vintner's Reserve® Merlot.

The awards were earned in such varied venues as the North Coast Wine Competition (formerly known as the Cloverdale Citrus Fair), Jerry Mead's New World International Wine Competition, Taster's Guild International Wine Competition, Riverside International Wine Competition and the San Diego National Wine Competition.

The San Francisco gold medal winning Vintner's Reserve® Cabernet Sauvignon has just been released, and is widely available. The Grand Reserve Pinot Noir and Vintner's Reserve® Chenin Blanc, which are produced in limited quantities, can be obtained by calling toll-free 800/769-3649 or by visiting Kendall-Jackson on the Web at KJ.com.

For more information about the San Francisco International Wine Competition, visit the Web at SFWineComp.com. Major sponsors include Bon Appetit Magazine and the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with KGO-810 Radio and Semifreddi's Breads.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates produces wines from the mountain and coastal regions of California and South America, featuring the wines of Kendall-Jackson and Camelot from California, La Crema from Sonoma's Russian River, Edmeades from Mendocino's Anderson Valley and Pepi from Napa and Sonoma counties. From South America Kendall-Jackson offers Calina from Chile and Tapiz from Argentina. Wines and exquisite olive oil are also produced at Kendall-Jackson's Villa Arceno in Italy's Tuscany region.