Winehaven Winery, of Chisago City, won 5 gold medals at the San Francisco International Wine Competition last week. Winehaven’s Stinger Honey Wine won its 8th gold medal since 1995. It remains Winehaven’s most awarded wine and one of the top ranked honey wines in the United States. Winehaven’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Wine won a double gold medal with a score of 94 points. The only fruit wine that scored higher in San Francisco was Winehaven’s Raspberry Wine, which took the “Best of Show” award with a score of 96 points.
Winehaven’s Nokomis wine won its first gold medal. Nokomis is a dry French-style red wine made from a grape that was developed at Winehaven and recognized by the U.S. Patent Office in 2013 for its unique combination of winter hardiness, disease resistance and wine quality. Winehaven’s Lakeside Chardonnay also won its first Double Gold medal in the highly competitive chardonnay category. It scored 95 points, making it one of the highest ranked chardonnay wines in the United States.
“We are so happy with these awards,” said Winehaven’s owner Kevin Peterson. “When my family and I opened Winehaven’s doors in 1995, we were one of the first wineries in Minnesota. The support and encouragement of the community allowed us to grow and it’s really exciting to now be recognized for so many of our local wines on a national stage.”
In addition to Winehaven’s 5 gold medal winning wines, Winehaven won silver medals for its Edelweiss white wine and Marquette Reserve red wine. Winehaven won bronze medals for its Riesling and Itasca white wines. It also won bronze medals for its Franconia and Deer Garden Red wines that are made from grapes developed at Winehaven and exclusively grown in Winehaven’s Chisago City vineyard.
Honey wine, also known as “mead,” is widely regarded as the ancestor of all fermented beverages. It is referenced in many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Peterson has raised honey in the Chisago Lakes Area for more than 60 years. The honey wine was the winery’s first wine selection when the Peterson family opened Winehaven. It is made from Peterson’s special blend of honey that is collected from local wildflowers and basswood trees. If the conditions are warm and humid enough in the St. Croix River Valley, the blossoms open enough to produce nectar. “It’s a rare honey with a special pizzazz,” said Peterson. “The beautiful flavor of the basswood honey really comes through in our wine.”
Now in its 40th year, the San Francisco International Wine Competition is one of the world’s largest and longest-running international wine competitions. It included more than 2,000 wines from 31 countries around the world. Competition judges are established wine-industry experts from throughout North America that evaluated the wines. Their decisions were based on the wine’s appearance, aroma, flavor, and aftertaste. The 11 awards Winehaven received this year are the most in its history.
A complete listing of the award-winning wines is below:
Raspberry Wine: Double Gold Medal, Best Fruit Wine
Strawberry-Rhubarb Wine: Double Gold Medal
Lakeside Chardonnay: Double Gold Medal
Nokomis: Gold Medal
Stinger Mead: Gold Medal
Edelweiss: Silver Medal
Marquette Reserve: Silver Medal
Riesling: Bronze Medal
Itasca: Bronze Medal
Franconia: Bronze Medal
Deer Garden Red: Bronze Medal
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