Good Harbor Wins Big at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Taylor Simpson
February 17, 2022 | Product Updates, Vine News | Taylor Simpson

Good Harbor Wins Big at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2022 Gold Medal Winners

Since 2000, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has brought winemakers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to showcase their wine on a larger level. For the past two decades, the competition has been one of the world’s most highly publicized and well-respected wine competitions.

More than 5,800 wines were judged in the competition. 

This year Good Harbor Vineyards had the honor of being one of 14 Traverse City area wineries to bring home top honors. Good Harbor brought home six winners – including three gold, one silver and two bronze.

Bringing home the gold medals were Good Harbor’s 2020 Pinot Grigio and two sparkling wines from the John W. Simpson series, Blanc de Blanc and Brut.   When asked what makes these wines stand out in a competition of this size, Drew Perry, winemaker for both Good Harbor Vineyards and Aurora Cellars, explains that “wines in our cool climate are able to retain acidity to help create a balance that doesn’t overwhelm the wines. The extreme dynamics between the high and low temperatures late in the season create the perfect environment to allow the grapes to develop precursors for powerful varietal aromatics.” Perry continues “the wines can remain light, crisp, and aromatic with very little intervention.”

What sets the cool climate wines apart from those in a warm climate is our cooler season allows flavors and aromatics to develop slower and reach a higher potential than those produced in a warm climate. Fruit grown in hot regions has a tendency to ripen too fast and loses the acidity that sparkling wines crave.

Both of the sparkling medal winners were produced using the Charmat method.  This method enables us to have full control from fruit to the bottle. It allows for the boundary to be pushed when it comes to the ripeness of the fruit and benefits from the way the effervescence lifts the higher note aromatics.

The Blanc de Blanc is made with 100% Chardonnay and reminds most people of sparkling wines that they are familiar with.  This is what helps it be one of the most popular sparkling wines in the Good Harbor sparkling profile.

With the Blanc de Blanc, we are able to give it a fuller palate while still retaining some of the freshness of the fruit. The Blanc de Blanc wines that are commonly consumed tend to be built around more muted yeasty tones. 

The Brut is made using our Gruner Veltliner allowing it to have more acidity and palate structure than some of our other traditional sparkling fruit sources. The wiry nature of the Brut allows it to be paired exceptionally well with food – which can be an afterthought when it comes to sparkling wines.

Growing grapes and producing still wine in a cool climate region accentuates the vintage variation, which is one of the many attractive qualities of wines from cooler regions.  Every vintage has its highs and lows and the 2020 was no different.   The 2020 season started late and slow and the vintage was trending to be more of a mediocre batch. The strength came at the finish with the most intense heat coming late in the season when some of the most important fruit development is happening.  The 2020 Pinot Grigio turned out to be a winner with wine judges and continues to win over the hearts of consumers.  Its bright aromatics of apple and pear explode on the nose and continue through the palate with a clean fresh finish.  

“The important part of success in these national competitions is having repeated success, and being able to achieve high marks on a multitude of wines and styles,” says Perry. “It shows that we are not a flash in the pan. We can consistently grow and produce world class wine in this region, and the awards go a long way toward validating that.”

But, don’t just take our word for it! Come try these award-winning wines for yourself in our tasting room. It is open Thursday-Monday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.


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