Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Wine Star Award Nominees

The leading magazine in global wine lifestyle announces its nominations for the coveted award.

Each year, the editors of Wine Enthusiast honor the individuals and companies that have made outstanding achievements in the wine and beverage world. Below are the nominees in 14 categories for the 2015 Wine Star Awards. The winners will be announced in the Wine Enthusiast’s special “Best of Year” issue, and they will be honored at a gala black-tie dinner in New York City on Jan. 25, 2016.

And the nominees are…

Person of the Year  Winemaker  |  American Winery 
European Winery  |  New World Winery 
Wine Region  |  Importer  |  Retailer
Sommelier/Wine Director  Mixologist/Brand Ambassador  |  Innovator/Executive
Spirit Brand  |  Brewery |  Lifetime Achievement

Lifetime Achievement Award: Angelo Gaja

It is impossible to talk about the Renaissance of modern day Italian wine without mentioning Angelo Gaja. Trailblazing, creative and influential, during his half-century career, Gaja has been a fundamental force in ushering in the New Age of Italian wine and in raising the image of Italian wine around the world.

Gaja’s quest to change the status quo of Italian wine began in 1960, when he graduated from the Enological Institute of Alba with a diploma in enology. He later went on to earn a degree in economics from the University of Turin.

In 1961, at the age of twenty-one, Gaja joined his family’s winemaking firm in the heart of Barbaresco, founded by his great-grandfather in 1859 and the region’s oldest producer. Before Gaja took the reins in 1969, his father had already improved on winemaking practices and acquired some of the area’s top vineyard sites. Gaja himself took a more drastic approach to upping quality, including advocating short pruning and lowering grape yields—unheard of in Italy at the time. He began experimenting with French oak barriques in the late 1960s, and in 1978 released the first Barbaresco to be aged in both barriques and in traditional, large Slavonian casks.

Gaja was an early advocate in promoting the importance of terroir. In particular, he focused on the Langhe hills, home to the noble Nebbiolo grape, the sole variety in two of Italy’s greatest wines, Barolo and Barbaresco. He shocked local winemakers when he planted tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in the late 1970s, to “demonstrate that even international grapes would excel in Langhe’s extraordinary growing area,” as he recalls. But perhaps Gaja’s most important contribution to Italian winemaking was his devotion to highlighting the importance of individual vineyards. A pioneer in crafting single-vineyard wines, his seductive Sorì bottlings from the 1967 vintage shook up the entire wine world for their finesse, structure and hefty price tag when they debuted in 1970.

Gaja’s world-class wines inspired an entire generation of winemakers, and soon producers across Italy began adopting the practices he innovated.

But Gaja didn’t just focus on winemaking. Early on in his career, he embarked on a quest to improve Italian wine’s image abroad. “Up until the early 1980s, Italian wine suffered from the ‘cheap and cheerful’ image and finely crafted Italian wines were almost unknown in export markets,” says Gaja. “One of my goals has always been to demonstrate Italy’s ability to produce elegant wines like Barbaresco and to confirm Italy’s role as the leader in making wines that pair beautifully with food.” To this end, Gaja has traveled the world, educating consumers and the trade alike on the excellence of fine Italian wine.

“One of my father’s unique qualities is his all-out conviction that if you really try, you can change things,” says Gaia Gaja, Angelo’s eldest daughter, who works at the firm alongside her father and sister Rossana while her younger brother Giovanni attends university. “Thanks to passion and great commitment, my father established himself in the world—not with wines made with international grapes but with Nebbiolo, at the time an almost unknown and little-understood grape.”

Today, the Gaja family also owns estates in Tuscany, where they make Brunello di Montalcino at their Pieve Santa Restituta property and in Bolgheri, where they produce IGT Toscana and Bolgheri DOC at their Cà Marcanda winery.

But wine is more than a family business for Angelo Gaja, it is also a way of life. “My father always says, ‘Chi sa bere sa vivere’ or, ‘Whoever enjoys wine knows how to enjoy life,’ because culture and values are the true riches of wine,” says Gaia.

Wine Enthusiast is thrilled to honor pioneer Angelo Gaja with our Lifetime Achievement Award. —Kerin O’Keefe

Person of the Year

Marilisa Allegrini: Co-owner, Allegrini Estates
Allegrini is a sixth-generation member of the top Valpolicella wine-producing family which put Amarone on the worldwide map. In addition to strategically growing Allegrini Estates, Marilisa expanded her portfolio to include Poggio al Tesoro in Bolgheri, which she founded in 2002 with her late brother, Walter, and Montalcino estate in San Polo, which she purchased in 2007.

Aubert de Villaine: Co-owner, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti; Director, Hyde de Villaine; Owner, A & P de Villaine
In addition to being the co-owner of Burgundy’s most iconic estate, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, de Villaine is the director of the renowned Napa winery Hyde de Villaine, and owner of the domaine in Bouzeron, A & P de Villaine. When not making world-renowned wines, de Villaine devotes his energy to further raise Burgundy’s status as a top wine-producing region. In 1998, he helped Bouzeron achieve AOC status for its Aligoté wines. This year, he succeeded in a decade-long campaign to grant UNESCO World Heritage status for Burgundy’s unique climats, an astounding accomplishment. He was also a judge at the historic 1976 “Judgment of Paris” blind tasting.

Michael Mondavi: Founder, Folio Fine Wine Partners; Michael Mondavi Family Estate
Following the 2004 sale of his family’s famous Napa Valley winery, Robert Mondavi, Michael was inspired to build his own wine empire. With his wife, Isabel, son, Rob Jr., and daughter, Dina, he launched the award-winning wine import company, Folio Fine Wine Partners. He built a magnificent list for the company, planted two new Napa Valley vineyards, and started Michael Mondavi Family Estate wine brands, headlined by the acclaimed M by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bill Price: Owner, Three Sticks Winery, Lutum, Head High, etc.
With a career as a financial services wizard at global private investment firm Texas Pacific Group under his belt, Bill Price seamlessly transitioned to wine. He quickly acquired praise-worthy properties like Durell Vineyard and Gap’s Crown in Sonoma, as well as the wine brands Lutum, Three Sticks and Head High. He was also a major investor in Kosta Browne Winery, which he sold earlier this year. As a Burgundy lover, Price is especially proud of his Pinot Noir bottlings.

Joseph ‘Joe’ Wagner: Founder, Copper Cane Wine & Provisions
A fifth-generation Napa winemaker (his father, Chuck, founded Caymus Vineyards in 1972), Wagner has developed brands for a new generation of wine drinkers. Responding to the success of Pinot Noir following the acclaimed film Sideways, he produced the single-vineyard Belle Glos Pinot Noir. He also founded the Meiomi brand, which produces lower-priced, high-quality Pinot Noir. The label grew exponentially over the last six years, and this year, it produced 700,000 cases. In July, Constellation Brands purchased Meiomi for a reported $315 million.

American Winery of the Year

Abacela (Roseburg, OR)
When husband-and-wife team Earl & Hilda Jones planted Oregon’s first commercial Tempranillo 20 years ago, it was arguably the most important viticultural innovation since Pinot Noir was introduced 30 years earlier. Tempranillo has since become the signature grape for many Southern Oregon wineries, but Abacela continues to lead the way with Albariño, Dolcetto, Grenache and several Portuguese varieties.

Becker Vineyards (Stonewall, TX)
For two decades, Becker Vineyards, headquartered in Texas Hill Country just outside of Fredericksburg, has been one of the Lone Star State’s biggest wine champions. Serving as mentors for the budding industry, founders Dr. Richard Becker and his wife, Bunny, are widely recognized for their work in studying Pierce’s Disease, as well as being the largest winery and grape buyer in the state. With Bordeaux and Rhône-style blends lauded by critics, it’s no surprise Becker was served at the White House during President George W. Bush’s tenure.

Gramercy Cellars (Walla Walla, WA)
Founded a decade ago by master sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife, Pam (a k a “The Brains”), this boutique project was inspired by a 2004 tasting trip to Walla Walla. Following Harrington’s harvest-season work, the couple moved there the next year, producing small-lot, minimal intervention Rhône- and Bordeaux-style wines. Now with more than 8,000 cases annually, Gramercy Cellars offerings are the state’s most sought-after wines. It’s received critical raves that include Seattle Magazine’s “Best New Winery” award.

JUSTIN Winery (Paso Robles, CA)
Founded in 1981, JUSTIN Winery catapulted to success with the release of its Isosceles Bordeaux-style blend and is now is widely recognized the winery that fostered the tremendous growth of viticulture in Paso Robles. Combining Old World techniques with New World technology, the winery produces some of the country’s most highly regarded wines. A true tourist magnet, the winery property now boasts an onsite restaurant and a luxury inn, featuring a charming French country townhouse.

Schramsberg (Calistoga, CA)
Schramsberg, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year under the ownership and direction of the Davies family, has long topped California’s list of incredible sparkling wine producers. Acclaimed for its range of bubbles from vineyards in Carneros, Marin, the Sonoma Coast and the Anderson Valley, Schramsberg is consistently reaching new heights. To wit, after replanting the whole estate—a process started in 1994—it’s branched out into high-end Napa reds with the J. Davies Estate label.

Winemaker of the Year

Christophe Baron, Cayuse Vineyards, Walla Walla, WA
The wandering son of a Champagne grower, Baron landed in Walla Walla in 1997 and planted a few acres of Syrah in a rock-strewn, dry riverbed south of town. Today, he farms more than 60 acres biodynamically, all single-vineyard plots dedicated to the production of his three meritorious brands, Cayuse, No Girls and Horsepower. Baron was also instrumental in the movement to designate the Rocks District as Oregon’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA).

Thomas Duroux, Château Palmer, Margaux
As director of the classified Third Growth property Château Palmer, Duroux works tirelessly to bring the estate to the peak of its potential. His main agenda is to gain organic and biodynamic certification for the property by 2017—a rare achievement in Bordeaux. Lauded for producing the estate’s excellent wines, Duroux focuses on cultivating a richer, stronger terroir that results in the best bottlings. Thanks to his efforts, other Bordeaux producers are following suit.

Rudiger Gretschel, Vinimark, South Africa
Gretschel is technical director and chief winemaker at Vinimark, the largest independent wine-trading company in South Africa. In addition to making wine at the biodynamic Reyneke farm, overseeing all estate operations at Robertson Winery and running around Swartland for the Leeuwenkuil brand, his modern, innovative approach has garnered him international acclaim.

Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Champagne Louis Roederer
Lécaillon, Roederer’s executive vice president and chef des caves, is a tireless ambassador for the brand as well as all of Champagne. Early in his career, Lécaillon was instrumental in site selection for California’s Roederer Estate, and he spearheads the development of the company’s three Bordeaux properties, most notably Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.

David Ramey, Ramey Wine Cellars
Ramey spent his early career creating benchmark wines for California’s Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus Estate and Rudd Estate. At the estate he founded in 1996, Ramey Wine Cellars in Healdsburg, he has long championed traditional, artisanal winemaking techniques in his single-vineyard Chardonnays and Cabernets.

European Winery of the Year

Emilio Moro (Ribera del Duero, Spain)
A third-generation, family-owned winery, Emilio Moro is at the forefront of Ribera del Duero’s rise to global wine prominence. Under the leadership of José Moro, the winery has become increasingly famous for its superb single-vineyard Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). With a growth of 17% in 2014, it now exports to more than 70 countries.

Famille Perrin (Orange, France)
Famille Perrin may be best known for its Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Miraval Rosé (made in collaboration with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), but its their affordable, everyday wines that set a high standard for all Southern Rhône blends. The largest organic producers in the region, Perrin’s influence extends to California’s Tablas Creek and its partnership with the Haas family, sharing both knowledge and valuable grapevine cuttings with American wineries.

Ferrari (Trento, Italy)
Guided by the third generation of the Lunelli family, Ferrari embodies the very best of metodo classico sparkling winemaking and what the family describes as “the Italian Art of Living.” Founded in 1902, Ferrari dominates the Trento DOC with 40% of the total market share with about 375,000 cases. This is a region on the rise, and Ferrari’s exquisite lineup of wines are a principal reason why.

Schloss Gobelsburg (Kamptal, Austria)
This ancient estate was founded in 1171 and is run by Michael Moosbrugger, Austria’s 2006 Winemaker of the Year. Consistently producing pristine wines at all levels—most notably the “Tradition” bottlings of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling—Schloss Gobelsburg has built its reputation on purity and precision.

Famille Hugel (Riquewihr, France)
Founded in 1639, Hugel is the global face of Alsatian wines and retains a hands-on, family-owned approach. Exporting 95% of its production, with an ongoing focus on quality at all price points, two generations actively participate in the business, producing single-vineyard bottlings like Schoellhammer Riesling and the rich Vendanges Tardives (late harvest) wines that Hugel pioneered, while also developing modern cellars in their 15th-century buildings.

New World Winery of the Year

Familia Zuccardi (Mendoza, Argentina)
With more than 50 years of winemaking history, the Zuccardi family has been essential to the emergence of Argentine wines on the global stage. Founder Alberto Zuccardi’s son, José, and grandson, Sebastián, continue to explore and expand Mendoza beyond Malbec, planting 1,600 acres dedicated to 25 grape varieties at the family’s experimental winery.

Viña Santa Carolina (Santiago, Chile)
A rare urban winery in this agricultural nation, Viña Santa Carolina is celebrating its 140th birthday this year. The original bodega, rebuilt in 2012 following a disastrous 2010 earthquake, has been a national monument since 1973. Exporting nearly 80% of all its production globally, top Santa Carolina wines include Herencia Carmenère and Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mission Hill Family Estate (West Kelowna, British Columbia)
The acknowledged leader in Canadian Okanagan viticulture, Mission Hill Family Estate is the flagship winery and the heart and soul of newly formed Von Mandl Family Estates, a collection of varietally specific Okanagan properties. Farming in five regions throughout the valley, this destination winery is packed with fine art and expansive grounds for live theater, fine dining and summer concerts.

Escarpment Vineyards (Martinborough, New Zealand)
Laser-focused on producing world-class Pinot Noir since its founding in 1998, Escarpment owners Larry & Sue McKenna have delivered on that promise with their Insight Series single-vineyard wines, Kupe, Pahi, Te Rehua and Kiwa. Meanwhile, the Edge series offers both quality and affordability.

Boekenhoutskloof (Franschhoek, South Africa)
This iconic South African winery dates back to 1776, and it has a long list of exceptional labels that has grown in sales and renown, particularly over the past decade. Winemaker Marc Kent, a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, masterfully produces brands like Porcupine Ridge, The Wolftrap and The Chocolate Block, as well as the top-rated Boekenhoutskloof estate wines.

Wine Region of the Year

Lodi, California
This California AVA has a classic Mediterranean climate and is home to many of the region’s oldest vines, most notably Zinfandel. Boasting production of more than 100 varieties, recent expansion has accelerated growth in previously undeveloped parts of the region, particularly the rolling hills on its eastern edge.

Marlborough, New Zealand
This renowned wine-growing region accounts for roughly two-thirds of the country’s total vineyards, and it’s best known for its riveting, tropical fruit-forward Sauvignon Blancs. Marlborough’s 568 growers and 168 wineries are also finding success with Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Russian River Valley, California
In the heart of Sonoma County, the AVA’s 16,000 acres of grapes go into many of California’s finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Cooling fog slows ripening and extends the growing season, especially in the western parts, while world-class Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs abound, often from gnarled, centenarian vineyards.

Sicily, Italy
Quality wine is the new norm in Sicily, thanks to 300 days of annual sunshine and renewed attention to native varieties. The Mount Etna, Vittoria, Noto and Faro zones are especially important because of their ideal growing conditions. With a reported 30% growth in U.S. exports in 2014, more quality Sicilian wine is making its way into American homes than ever before.

Walla Walla, WA
With more than 2,800-planted acres and 160 wineries, this AVA splits over two states and is a center for wine tourism. It’s also home to arguably the finest Syrahs in the Pacific Northwest. The newly minted Rocks District of Milton-Freewater is the region’s first sub-AVA.

Importer of the Year

Founded by Christopher Cannan in 1978, Europvin offers a carefully curated portfolio of estate wines from across Europe. Representing dozens of unique properties that include Vega-Sicilia and Domaine Huet, the company is also renowned for its work with Bordeaux Classified Growths.

Votto Vines Importing
CEO Michael Votto started the company out of a delivery car, and by August 2014, it made the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private American companies, entering at No. 464. Recognized for its quick revenue growth—from $384,000 in 2010 to $6 million in 2014—the company plans to broaden its distribution throughout the country.

Royal Wine Corporation
Owned and operated for more than 50 years by the Herzog family, Royal Wine Company has roots dating back to 19th-century Czechoslovakia, when the family was the royal wine supplier to Emperor Franz Joseph. Since the 1950s, when the Herzogs eventually purchased Royal Wine, it has become widely admired for its expansive portfolio of kosher wines from around the world. The company also offers spirits and liqueurs, including Los Arango Tequilas and Tomintoul single-malt whiskies.

A young, fast-growing importer founded in 2004, Vintus offers a focused portfolio of handcrafted wines from family-owned, estate-based producers. The company’s marquee brands include Chateau Montelena, Errazuriz, Pétrus, Champagne Bollinger and Quinta do Noval, which are distributed across the U.S. and the Caribbean.

Winesellers Ltd.
Founded in 1977 by Yale Sager, Winesellers Ltd. is a second-generation family-owned and managed national importer with a diverse collection of producers and brands from countries like Argentina, Germany, New Zealand and Italy. Winesellers, Ltd. imports iconic producers such as Familia Zuccardi from Argentina and Quinta de la Rosa from Portugal and also sources, creates and develops its own brands like Tortoise Creek, Tiamo and La Fiera.

Retailer of the Year

Founded in 2012 by Harvard Law School graduates Steven Abt and Moiz Ali, this New York-based online retailer features the offbeat, rare and small-batch spirits not found at traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Samples are all tasted and approved by staff members before they’re put on sale.

Costco Wholesale
As one of the largest wine retailers in the country, Costco Wholesale focuses on offering its members quality global wines at low prices. Its Kirkland Signature wine collection is sourced from premium producers worldwide and sold at unbeatable prices.

Flatiron Wines & Spirits
Located in New York City, Flatiron Wines & Spirits is praised for featuring carefully curated and well-priced wines and spirits. It puts an emphasis on organic, biodynamic and sustainable selections, as well as a deep collection of rare, mature wines.

Founded by wine expert Jon Rimmerman in 1995, Garagiste is credited with developing the original email wine-offer concept now used by most online wine stores. The site offers a large selection of wines, including organic and offbeat selections, priced at $15 or less.

The Party Source
Described as a sprawling “campus” rather than a store, this Bellevue, Kentucky-based operation is the biggest independent wine, beer and spirit retailer in the country, sharing space with an onsite brewery and distillery. It’s also 100% employee-owned.

Sommelier/Wine Director of the Year

Patrick Cappiello
A gregarious and deeply knowledgeable sommelier, Cappiello is a partner and the wine director of New York City’s buzzed-about Pearl & Ash and Rebelle restaurants. He’s admired for driving industry trends while offering an approachable take on wine to customers.

Helen Mackey
As vice president of menu strategy, beverage, culinary and innovation at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Mackey, from Orlando, Florida, has steadily built a stellar wine program for the upscale steakhouse chain.

June Rodil
Born in the Philippines and raised in Austin, Texas, Rodil is beverage director for McGuire Moorman Hospitality and a newly minted master sommelier. Previously, she was innovative in leading the team at Qui and East Side King as director of operations, and at Uchi Restaurant Group as beverage director.

Shelley Lindgren
Lindgren has a lot going for herself. She’s co-owner and wine director of San Francisco’s acclaimed restaurants A16 and SPQR, as well as A16 Rockridge in neighboring Oakland. Lindgren is also a James Beard award winner, an authority on Italian wine and food, and a celebrated author. Her book, A16 Food + Wine, received both the International Association of Culinary Professionals Julia Child/First Book award and the IACP Cookbook of the Year for 2009.

Andrew Shaffner  
As wine director at Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado, Shaffner oversees a global wine list of more than 1,000 labels at the resort’s various restaurants, including the esteemed Allred’s. The collection features a wine blended by Shaffner and partners called Telluride Red.

Innovator/Executive of the Year

Florence Cathiard
An innovator in the wine industry, Cathiard has owned the eminent Château Smith Haut Lafitte, along with three other Bordeaux chateaux with her husband, Daniel Cathiard, for the past 25 years. She’s also co-creator of Les Sources de Caudalie, a beauty product company for hotels and spas, and was elected president of France’s national wine tourism council.

Rowan Gormley
Gormley launched in 2008, using a unique crowdsourcing model that connects investors with winemakers. The groundbreaking site has helped provide funding to numerous independent wineries, which produce exclusive wines sold on the Web site.

Aurelio Montes
A leader of Chile’s wine revolution, Montes founded the fast-growing Viña Montes with three partners in 1988. In addition to the exquisite feng shui-styled estate and a line of top-rated wines produced there, his winery portfolio extends to Kaiken in Argentina, and Napa Angel in California.

Mike Ratcliffe
Ratcliffe is the managing director of the celebrated Warwick Estate in South Africa and co-founder of Vilafonté, the first joint South African-American winemaking venture, with partner Zelma Long. He also founded the AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction, which raised $800,000 for charity this year.

Simonit & Sirch
Renowned Friuli-based viticulturists Marco Simonit and Pierpaolo Sirch have worked with celebrated winemakers all over Italy, France and elsewhere. They’ve developed revolutionary techniques for maximizing fruit quality and vine longevity, designed to lead to the production of exceptional wines.

Spirit Brand of the Year

Built in 1881, this Scotch whisky distillery located on the island of Islay is known for its cult bottlings, including the heavily peated and highly regarded Octomore line.

This ruby-hued bitter liqueur has been produced since 1860, but is now the mixology ingredient du jour and a driving force behind the Negroni revival in the U.S. Campari is the flagship product for Campari America.

Distillery No. 209 
Located in San Francisco and run by the Rudd family, who also own the Rudd Oakville Estate Winery and previously owned Dean & DeLuca, the distillery’s No. 209 Gin is a mixologist favorite across the country. It’s now experimenting with gins aged in former wine casks and producing a kosher gin.

New Amsterdam
Since its launch in 2011, New Amsterdam vodka has become one of the fast-growing upstarts and the fastest new spirits launch to sell one million cases. Part of the E. & J. Gallo portfolio, New Amsterdam also produces gin and flavored vodkas.

Founded by Japanese saké expert Shinjiro Torii, Suntory has distilled whisky in Japan since 1923. Among its lauded and vast portfolio is Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt, one of the most sought-after and collectable whiskies in the world.

Mixologist/Brand Ambassador of the Year

Ian Burrell
As a self-proclaimed “global rum ambassador,” the London-based Burrell is a leading educator of the rum category, traveling the world to conduct seminars and master classes. He is also the founder of the three-day UK RumFest, which launched in 2007.

Sean Kenyon 
Kenyon was named American Bartender of the Year at 2014’s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, an accolade earned for creating a bar known for stellar service and outstanding drinks. Following that success, his Denver craft cocktail den, Williams & Graham, was named as Best Bar in America at Tales in 2015.

Chris Patino
Patino is director of brand education for Pernod Ricard USA, which owns iconic bottlings like Absolut Vodka, Chivas Regal and Jameson whiskies and Beefeater Gin. He manages the company’s industry-leading online bartender education program, BarSmarts.

Brittini Rae Peterson
Working with newly opened cocktail lounge Melrose Umbrella Co. and the mixologist group Collectif 1806, this Los Angeles-based bartender was crowned the winner of the 2015 Speed Rack speed-bartending competition.

Claire Smith-Warner
Not only does Smith-Warner represent Belvedere Vodka as its brand ambassador, but she also helps develop inventive new products and Belvedere-based cocktails for the company.

Brewery of the Year

Dogfish Head Brewery
With 20 years of beer making under its belt, Dogfish Head continues to produce innovative brews and products. They range from crafty collaborations like the beer-wine hybrid Noble Rot with Alexandria Nicole Cellars, to food items like Hop Pickles with Brooklyn Brine. Dogfish is now distilling vodka, rum and “Jin.”

Deschutes Brewery
Based in Bend, Oregon, Deschutes Brewery has developed a reputation for producing adventurous craft beers using wild ferment and barrel aging that deserve space in every aficionado’s cellar. Its products don’t use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are vegan, too.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company
A four-time winner of the World Beer Cup as Mid-Size Brewery of the Year, the Paso Robles, California-based company is renowned for its line of pale ales, but it’s equally lauded for its limited-release, barrel-aged beers.

Founders Brewing Co.
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders has been internationally recognized for its beers, including the World Beer Cup and the Good Food Award. Known for full-flavored, hugely aromatic and complex beers, Founders has developed a cult-like following.

Lagunitas Brewing Company
Founded in Northern California in the early 1990s, this local favorite receives national recognition for its creative interpretation of traditional beer styles and whimsical marketing. Lagunitas has a regional brewery in Chicago and another slated to open in Azusa, California.

Wine Enthusiast's 2015 Wine Star Award Winners

Published on August 27, 2015
Topics: News and Trends, Wine Star, Wine Star Awards

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