Wine Life

Aratas “GOLD” at North Coast Wine Challenge


Aratas 2012 Napa Valley Petite Sirah stands with 17 finalists for "Best in Show" and ultimately wins the "GOLD" medal and 93 Point rating in the 2018 North Coast Wine Challenge hosted by the Pulitzer prize winning publication, The Press Democrat.

Aratas new Carneros Chardonnay also received a Silver medal; very respectable in a field filled with California's most notable white grape.

"Now in its sixth year, the 2018 North Coast Wine Challenge launched Wednesday morning at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds with nine judging panels tackling flight after flight of North Coast wine.

Although wine competitions often start with white wines, reflecting the way people drink, chief judge Daryl Groom said he changed it up because red wines benefit from being evaluated earlier in the day.

“While your palate is fresh, it’s easier to judge the more challenging wines, which are the reds,” Groom said. “Then we break for lunch, and we judge the whites.”

This was the first year the blind tasting competition was held at the fairgrounds in Santa Rosa rather than at the Hilton Sonoma Wine County hotel, which was destroyed in the October wildfires.

Inside Saralee & Richard’s Barn, the 28 judges sat at round tables faced with numbered wine glasses. The judging panels for the blind tasting were divided into a mix of palates: a winemaker, a sommelier, a wine buyer or member of the media.

The two-day competition drew 1,014 entries from 185 wineries, including 39 wineries new to the contest. Only wines made from grapes grown in the six North Coast counties of Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Marin, Napa and Solano were eligible.

The competition, presented by The Press Democrat, continues to grow and evolve under the leadership of Groom, who launched a mentor ship program last year for young associate judges nominated from the wine industry. In 2014, he created an even playing field by doing away with price categories — except for a luxury class for wines retailing over $75."

To view the entire list of Gold medal winners visit :

The newspaper was honored in the category of Breaking News for its online and print coverage of the October fires, which killed 40 people and destroyed 6,190 homes in the region.The Pulitzer Committee lauded the paper “for lucid and tenacious coverage of historic wildfires that ravaged the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, expertly utilizing an array of tools, including photography, video and social media platforms, to bring clarity to its readers — in real time and in subsequent in-depth reporting.” Kevin McCallum, April 16, 2018 The Press Democrat


"One of the 9 best wines from the Rutherford AVA"

Robb Report Logo

Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen



"This well-made wine showcases the variety well... concentrated and structured" "Editor's Pick"

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Virginie Boone

Wine Enthusiast


"The top ranked Petite Sirah, first place winner Aratas Wine... a beautiful example of 100% Petite Sirah"

St. Helene Star

Napa Vintners

St Helena Star


"The Aratas Chardonnay leaps from the glass with scents of ripe apricot, lemon meringue and honeycomb..."

Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Wine Advocate