Why The Chronicle Is Not Naming Winemaker Of The Year In 2020

Posted: Dec 17, 2020

Because nothing about 2020 is normal, we decided to change up our year-end wine coverage.

December is usually when we roll out our Winemaker of the Year and Winemakers to Watch packages — traditions that preceded my arrival at The Chronicle and that I happily inherited from Jon Bonné, the paper’s previous wine writer. But this December we’re not doing either.

Instead, this week we published a different sort of year-capping project: 12 wines that define 2020. Allow me to explain why.

The idea behind the Winemaker of the Year franchise was always to tell a great story — and, most of all, an urgently timely story — about California wine. There was Cathy Corison in 2011 (one of Bonné’s inductees), whose quiet style of Napa Valley Cabernet was then finally getting the long overdue appreciation it deserved. There was Bibiana González Rave in 2015 (my first inductee), who exemplified what the modern, multitasking winemaker’s job had become. In 2018, a moment when the exorbitant economics of California winemaking seemed to be reaching a breaking point, Monterey winemaker Ian Brand suggested an alternative model with affordable wine prices. And there were many others.

The point, in other words, wasn’t just to recognize a talented person whose wines taste good, though that was of course an important part of it. We’re in the business of storytelling, and we chose figures who could, through a detailed profile of their careers, illuminate something true about what was happening in the world of California wine in that period.

By Esther Mobley
Source and complete article by: sfchronicle.com

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