A few weeks ago, a bunch of Woodinville winemakers got together and judged each other’s wine as part of the annual Golden Grape Awards at Willows Lodge. Rumor has it the results were pretty surprising: Some big names went home empty-handed, while at least one relatively unknown winery will be bagging a trophy at this Sunday’s award ceremony/tasting at the Lodge's Sammamish Ballroom. No promises someone won’t trip ascending the stage.

Here’s how it worked: Willows Lodge wine director Matt Davis invited 50-some Woodinville vintners to submit wines, with the goal being to find the best Woodinville wine in of each in seven categories: sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux-style blends, syrah, Rhone-style reds, and general blends.

Then, reps from the 29 wineries that submitted spent three nights tasting the wines. Each wine was decanted, bagged, randomly numbered—the whole shebang—and judged blind. Meaning that, in theory, winemakers sometimes tasted their own juice against the competition. 

When the results were tallied, at least one wine came out of nowhere and left everyone with something to seriously ponder, and the winner of the Golden Cup—essentially the best picture category—is rumored to be quite interesting.

Fortunately the Golden Grape Awards ceremony is open to the public, meaning the rest of us mere mortals can taste the winners—and most of the competitors—ourselves. A $25 ticket (at the door) gets you 15 tastes from the likes of wineries you may know, such as DeLille, Darby, Efeste, Sparkman Cellars, and some you may not—Alta Cellars, Elevation Cellars, or Pondera Winery, perhaps? The tasting is this Sunday, March 3, at Willows Lodge at 3pm; the Golden Grapes Awards will be presented at 5. 

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