Four NJ wineries shine at San Francisco Chronicle national wine competition

Marilyn Johnson

Garden State Wine Growers Association (GSWGA) – a coalition of 60+ New Jersey wineries and vineyards that support the Garden State’s wine industry through information, resources, and advocacy, recognizes four member wineries who brought home double golds and more at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SFCWC) last month.
Four New Jersey Wineries Bring Home the Gold at San Francisco Chronicle National Wine CompetitionPhoto bySan Francisco Chronicle

Any winery in North America can voluntarily enter, but their wines must be crafted from fruit and grapes grown or produced in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico. This year, more than 60 judges representing various North American wine regions evaluated 5,500 wines from nearly 1,000 wineries.

The judges taste blind. They don’t know who made the wine or the region where the wine was produced. They know the grape and the bottle's price, which they consider when judging. Wines are placed in categories based on wine type and price range. 

The San Francisco Chronicle's wine competition judges thoroughly evaluate the wines for their appearance, smell, and taste, considering the grape and the price. Wines receive a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal based on the judges' average score (or no medal if the wine was deemed flawed). In addition, a Double Gold medal is awarded if each judge finds the wine worthy of gold. 

Four New Jersey wineries chose to enter the 2023 competition, and 22 wines from those four wineries medaled. 

Double Gold: The following three New Jersey wines received Double Gold medals, indicating judges felt they are among the finest wines in the world:

Gold: Judges awarded four New Jersey wines gold medals signifying the wine is exceptional and nearing the pinnacle of achievement in its category:

  • Sharrott Winery 2020 Merlot
  • William Heritage Winery 2019 Blanc de Blancs
  • William Heritage Winery 2021 Gravel Block Chardonnay
  • William Heritage Winery 2020 Burn Pile Chambourcin 

Silver: Judges found six New Jersey-produced wines to be outstanding and the best examples of wine in its particular category. These wines were awarded Silver:

  • Autumn Lake Winery 2021 Albarino
  • Red Sled (from William Heritage) NV Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Sharrott Winery 2021 Brut
  • Sharrott Winery NV Sauvignon Blanc/Fume
  • Sharrott Winery 2021 Cabernet Franc
  • Sharrott Winery 2019 Wicked 

Bronze: Bronze winners are among the better examples in its category. Judges recognized these seven New Jersey wines with Bronze medals:

  • Auburn Road Vineyards 2020 The White Bottle (Chardonnay)
  • Auburn Road Vineyards 2019 Volume Two (Petit Verdot)
  • Auburn Road Vineyards 2020 GAIA 2020 Red Blend 
  • Autumn Lake Vineyards 2018 Couer d’Est Red Blend
  • Sharrott Winery 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sharrott Winery 2021 Couer d’Est Red Blend
  • Sharrott Winery NV Tango Red Blend
“New Jersey wines have been competing nationally and internationally and performing well for decades. This competition brings awareness to the entire state and east coast wineries,” said GSWGA Executive Director Devon Perry. “Additionally, it continues to position New Jersey Wine Country as a producer of some of the wine industry's best. Congratulations to all participants, especially our east coast neighbors who join our wineries in some of the highest honors of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.”

For a complete list of all the medals awarded in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and to see which of our neighboring states also brought home gold, silver, and bronze medals, see the Full List of Medal Winners.

Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey food, the greater Mid-Atlantic area, and beyond. Email Marilyn at with food and travel news. If you liked this article, throw Marilyn a coffee! Follow Marilyn on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

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Marilyn Johnson is a Philadelphia area-based food and travel writer focusing on food & drink in the Mid-Atlantic region—email for Philly area news; for Mid-Atlantic food news.

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