Forty-eight wine industry professionals convened at San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko to evaluate 4,184 wines from over 1,200 wineries (including 392 new winery participants) from 29 countries and 20 states. This was the 31st year for America’s largest and most prestigious wine competition. Director Anthony Dias Blue, renowned food and wine authority, coordinated one of the most important and comprehensive wine competitions in the world, known both for the quality of wines entered and for the high level of expertise among its judges.Sandstone Cellars Winery took home two medals from the 2011 San Francisco International Wine competition held June 17th, 18th, and 19th. Sandstone Cellars 2009 VIII ($25), a blend of Zinfandel, Touriga, and Merlot garnered a Siver medal and Sandstone Cellars 2006 IV ($40), their highly regarded Port, was awarded a Bronze. The wines were competing in challenging categories, Non-Bordeaux Red Blends and Port. The VIII was in the company of fine wines like Boeger Winery 2006 Cabernet Franc, Reserve, Milagro Blend, El Dorado ($25), Lone Madrone 2008 Von Dog, Paso Robles ($54), and Puro Uno 2008 Quadro Limitado, Mendoza, Argentina ($40). The IV was in the company of some very fine ports like Stephen & Walker Trust Winery 2004 Port, Portentous, California ($65).More good news came for Sandstone Cellars in the July 2011 issue of Food and Wine Magazine (The Best New Chefs issue). Wine editor and television show co-host of “Vine Talk,” Ray Isle tasted the Sandstone Cellars 2009 VII ($30), 100% Touriga, with Pappas Bros. Steakhouse’s Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks and included Drew Hendrick’s recommendation of the wine in the article, “Versatile Wines that (Almost) Pair with Anything.” The wine industry continues to grow in Mason county and the northwest portion of the Texas Hill County. Pontotoc Vineyard in Pontotoc, had its first crush with this year’s harvest and Junction Rivers Winery, just off the square in Junction, Texas will be opening in early fall. Vineyards continue to be planted in Mason County to supply our local wineries with grapes for more award winning wines.