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The Pacific Rim Wine Competition

May 27, 2022
The Pacific Rim Wine Competition

Internationally Renowned Wineries Honored at Pacific Rim Wine Competition Best Vintages Receive Medals and High Praise from Judges

(April 2022—San Bernardino, CA)—The Pacific Rim Wine Competition, held April 13-14, 2022 at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, brought together wines from across the globe to compete head to head in blind tastings and to determine which vintages would take home the gold. Entries in dozens of categories marked the event, which has taken place each year since 1985, with of course an exception during the pandemic. Fiercely competitive, wineries vie for the top honors to enhance both their reputation in the industry and their marketing exposure for their various wines.

This year’s top winners included:

  1. Best in Show, Best in Class Red and Don Galleano Award: Eberle Winery 2019 Vineyard Selection 
  2. Best in Class Sparkling and Harry McWatters Award: Sieur D’Arques 2018 Sainte Hilaire  Blanquette de Limoux
  3. Best in Class White: McPherson Cellars 2021 Texas High Plains Albariño 
  4. Best in Class Rose: Rodney Strong Estates 2021 Sonoma Coast Rose of Pinot Noir 
  5. Best in Class Fruit: Breitenbach Wine Cellars (NV) Plum Wine
  6. Best in Class Dessert: Galleano 2003 Cucamonga Valley Lucca Port
  7. Double GOLD: Mimosa Royale Apple

Not only did this year’s Competition mark the 35th year of championing great wines, but we also honored two of our beloved judges, Don Galleano and Harry McWatters who passed away last year. To mark their impact on the wine industry and our Competition specifically, we inaugurated the Don Galleano and Harry McWatters awards for wines whose specifications were thoughtfully crafted by Harry and Don’s children, Christa-Lee McWatters and Domenic Galleano.  

“This year’s Pacific Rim International Wine Competition showcased an impressive array of beautiful, high quality wines from the United States, Australia, and France. The number of interested wineries has increased each year, and continues to highlight the best of North American and Pacific Rim wine producers.  “We would like to congratulate all the winners on their awards and are grateful for another successful year of championing great wines” says Competition Director Nicole Varner Orue.  “And a very special congratulations to Sieur D’Arques and Eberle Winery for winning the first ever Harry McWatters and Don Galleano awards!"

Chief Judge Spreti Valente, CS, noted: “The return of the 2022 Pacific Rim Wine Competition was bittersweet, with the celebration of our return to business while also celebrating the lives of the judges we lost, especially our Chairman, Don Galleano, who is no longer with us.  I am proud to be a part of this historic competition while continuing the mission to champion wines that our late chairman Don Galleano cherished."

Valente further highlighted: "Our panel of judges was composed of carefully selected wine experts from around the USA.  Each of them was asked to focus on the wines from the point of view of an advocate rather than a critic, to enhance the and award them the most useful medals for the wineries and for the general public at large.   We are proud to share with the public the winning wines.  In my professional opinion, each deserved the medals awarded.  The best in each class will also be receiving a set of tasting notes from the judges who shared their talents with us. After a successful return to business, we are excited and looking forward to next year!"

The full slate of judges included 15 renowned individuals who participated in a two-day tasting event of hundreds of wine entries. The prestigious panel included distributors for large wine retailers, winemakers, wine journalists and restauranteurs, as well as local favorites Jon McPherson of South Coast Winery and Domenic Galleano of Galleano Winery. 

Since 1985, the Pacific Rim Wine Competition has brought together wineries from across the Pacific Rim Nations. Next year’s Compeition is scheduled for April 5-6, 2023 with online entries open for submission here:  For more information, please visit our website,, or contact Competition Director Nicole Varner Orue at

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