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The mission of the North of the Gate Wine Competition is to promote and highlight the world-class wineries of Northern California. Wines entered in this competition highlight the uniqueness of the region between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oregon border, while the winners represent world-renowned wines produced by farmers and winery professionals that call this bountiful landscape home.

North of the Gate Wine Competition has identified the following objectives which will…

…offer a venue for wine from the eligible counties to be judged.
…promote agriculture by recognizing the wine industry as a vital agricultural component of the region.
…increase the exposure of wineries to the wine consumer with over 60,000 people who visit the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair.
…offer meaningful competition between winemakers to encourage high-quality practices throughout the winemaking industry.

Winery Benefits and Marketing Opportunities

  • Exposure to professional judges representing trade, education, media, and/or retail.
  • Medal Winners are featured in a display during the 5-day Sonoma-Marin Fair.
  • Best of Show, Sweepstakes, Best of County, Best of Class, Double Gold, and Gold Medal wines are featured in the Fair Wine Garden. This is NOTG-only pouring and wineries will also be invited to pour their wines for an evening.
  • Award-winning wines will be printed in an award booklet offered to the public in the Wine Garden and the Fair wine display.
  • Media releases announcing winners. Online, social media and print outlets will all be utilized.
  • Medal Winning Wineries will receive a marketing packet for seamless inclusion into their print, social and other marketing efforts.



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  1. Eligibility: commercial wines that are made in the counties of: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba. Any bottled wine labeled with the above counties as their main source of grapes, even if bottled out of the area, is eligible for entry.
  2. A copy of the completed entry form with the fees must be received at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds by Friday, April 14th, 2023.
  3. All wines must be received at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds at 175 Fairgrounds Drive in Petaluma between April 17th and 21st, 2023. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, we are closed from 12-1 p.m. for lunch daily.
  4. All Best of Show, Sweepstakes, Best of County, Best of Class, and Double Gold winning winery brands are required to send one case of the winning wine (sent wine becomes the property of the Sonoma-Marin Fair and will not be returned) to be poured during the NOTG wine tasting at the 2023 Sonoma-Marin Fair (we do not require staff to pour at the event). Gold Medal Wines are encouraged to participate; additional information to follow. Wineries must comply with this requirement to receive recognition for their award. Wine to be provided by winery at their expense.


  • There is no limit to the number of entries per winery.
  • There is no limit to the number of vintages of the same variety a winery may enter.
  • The same wine (although marketed under a different label) may not be entered in more than one category. However, a winery may submit multiple entries in the same category.
  • Wines entered must be available for commercial sale prior to the start of judging, April 27th, 2023.


  • Wines will be evaluated and scored blindly by a panel of qualified judges; the judges’ decision is final.
  • The competition reserves the right to re-classify wine entries.
  • The competition is not responsible for errors in entries.


Judges will award Double GoldGoldSilver and Bronze awards as well as Best of Show, Sweepstakes: Best Red, Blush/Rose, Sparkling, White, Sweet and Fortified; Best of ClassBest of County and Winemaker of the Competition Awards.  Best of Show and Winemaker of the Competition will receive plaques. Certificates Will be awarded to Sweepstakes: Best Red, Blush/Rose, Sparkling, White, Sweet and Fortified; Best of Class, Best of County. Bottle medallions will be awarded to Double Gold, Gold wines; Silver wines.  Best of Show is awarded to one wine recognized to possess characteristics of the highest quality overall.

Following the judging, wineries will be notified of any awards won. All medal award-winning wineries required for the public tasting, mentioned on #4 of the rules, will be contacted to schedule pouring.


Entry Information: There is a $60 per entry fee.  Please enter online or you may send the entry fee and forms to  Sonoma-Marin Fair at 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma, CA  94952.  Entry deadline is April 14th, 2023.

Wines:  Send six (6) 750 ml bottles per entry and a copy of the entry form to the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma, CA  94952.  Wines are to be delivered to the Administration Building between the dates of April 17th and 21st, 2023.  Office hours are 8-Noon and 1-5pm, Monday-Friday. If wine is to be delivered outside of these dates, please notify the fair office prior to delivery.  No wine will be accepted for which carrier charges have not been prepaid.  All wines become the property of the Sonoma-Marin Fair.  Surplus bottles will be used in the North of the Gate Fair display and poured in the Wine Garden.

For specific wine or entry questions contact: Dr.  Valery Uhl, Wine Competition Director,  510-421-7808
For delivery or payment questions contact the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds staff:  707-283-3247  or email:  [email protected]org

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