2010 Grand Tasting Photo Gallery

The weekend kicks off with hundreds of outstanding wines—and many new discoveries among them
Oct 30, 2010

For the 30th edition of the Wine Experience, Wine Spectator decided to try something new for the event: to showcase the diversity of all the New World, from the established but still-evolving big players to the rising stars. Instead of holding its biannual California Wine Experience, which focused on the wines of the West Coast, the magazine expanded the event to cover not only Oregon, Washington and other U.S. areas, but also Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and beyond.

“We're here to discover new regions and new wines,” said Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken, kicking off the first New World Wine Experience, in Las Vegas at the Venetian casino resort. After spending the first evening surveying the new faces among more than 200 wineries pouring at the Grand Tastings, he said, “I find it amazing.”

At the two nights of Grand Tastings, guests could find plenty of big names and favorites, such as California Cabernets from Araujo, Bond, Harlan and Schrader. But they could also sample Cabernet-based wines from Israel, Lebanon or Long Island and a Bordeaux blend from Virginia.

Pinot Noir fans had plenty of choices among California, Oregon and New Zealand, while Syrah lovers could contrast the wines of Australia, California, Chile and Washington. (The Zinfandel contingent, however, didn’t have any New World challengers—yet.) But in between the sparkling wines and the sweet wines, guests could also discover aged Riesling from Canada and Nebbiolo from Mexico, different styles of Chenin Blanc from South Africa or the little-known Koshu grape variety from Japan.

“I’m using this as an educational experience, to bring my level of knowledge about wine up,” said Richard Janet, who had come from Washington to attend his first Wine Experience. He and his wife, Mary, spent the first evening discovering the range of Malbecs from Argentina and collecting corks from about 60 producers. Patting his Grand Tasting book listing all the wines poured, he added, “I will treat this book as a guide, a bible, a Rosetta Stone of wineries.”

Here are portraits of a few of the notable winemakers and winery owners who were on hand to pour their wines, along with the guests who came to enjoy them.

Brothers Tim and Michael Mondavi, of California’s famous winemaking family, were on hand to represent their current ventures, Continuum and M by Michael Mondavi.
Bordeaux-based vintner Christian Moueix, with his wife, Cherise, was on hand to represent his California estate, Dominus.

Michael Browne and Dan Kosta (second and third from left) of California Pinot Noir producer Kosta Browne eagerly followed the San Francisco Giants’ World Series game 2 win over the Texas Rangers with former Giants Dave Roberts (left) and Rich Aurillia (right) and John Micek of Red Stitch Wine (second from right).

Mollydooker owner Sparky Marquis was pouring the 2007 Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz from South Australia.
From the New Zealand contingent, Spy Valley winemaker Paul Bourgeois poured the 2009 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.


Guests lined up for a taste of Harlan 2006, poured by estate director Don Weaver.

Chilean winemaker Marcelo Papa introduced guests to Concha y Toro’s Maycas del Limarí wines from northern Chile.
Argentinean vintner Santiago Achával, president of Achával-Ferrer, poured 2008 Finca Mirador at the Grand Tasting.


From Lebanon, Chateau Musar proprietor Serge Hochar poured a 2001 Cabernet-based blend.

California vintner Adam Lee of Siduri and Novy dressed up as Superman (or “Siduri Man”) for Halloween weekend.
Napa vintner Mary Rocca, a former dentist who launched Rocca Family Vineyards, poured her 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Eager guests packed the ballroom to explore the more than 200 wines being poured.

Washington winemaker Chris Gorman makes serious wines with fun names, like Gorman’s The Bully Cabernet.
Cote Bonneville is one of Washington's rising stars; winemaker Kerry Shiels was on hand with her sister-in-law Carie.

Representing Canada, Cave Springs owner Leonard Pennachetti poured a 2004 Riesling to demonstrate how Ontario wines can age.
From Israel, Victor Schoenfeld, head winemaker for Golan Heights Winery, showed off the Yarden Cabernet.

Bedell CEO Trent Preszler and owner Michael Lynne’s son Jonathan demonstrated what Long Island can do with Bordeaux varieties.
Betz Family members Carla, Bob, Cathy and Carmen turned out in force to show their Washington winery is a true family operation.

Bodega Catena Zapata president Laura Catena showed one of her family’s Malbecs from Argentina’s Mendoza region.
Outpost proprietors Frank and Kathy Dotzler poured a Zinfandel from the Howell Mountain appellation in Napa.

As always, the red-hatted Wine Warriors—some of the most dedicated attendees—were out in force, including the family of John Leahey.
Las Vegas residents (from left) Ernie Cabrera, Amie Turpin, Mike Turpin and JD Kollar enjoyed sampling wines and talking to winemakers.
WS Events Wine Experience New World Wine Experience 2010