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Published:  23 July, 2008

Kendall-Jackson's La Crema Winery has been named Winemaker of the Year at the 2002 San Francisco International Wine Competition. La Crema Winery, which claims to be one of the pioneers of the Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast, was judged to have the Best of Class Pinot Noir and was also awarded the Andr Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year honour. This award is given to a small-production winery earning the most medal points in the competition, and is named after Tchelistcheff, who is regarded as the founding father of the modern Californian wine industry. Winemaker Jeff Stewart entered 11 La Crema wines in the US' largest wine competition, which this year saw more than 3,800 entries from wineries around the world. The wines included Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Viognier, Zinfandel and Syrah. The winery came away with nine medals, including a double gold and two golds. Stewart said: Our goal is to best represent our home along the Sonoma Coast with wines of elegance and balance. To have success with a panel this varied and distinguished brings great honour to our efforts. There is no better place on earth to craft Pinot Noirs than the Russian River Valley.' Stewart also acknowledged the co-operation and team effort of his vineyard manager Hector Bedolla and assistant winemaker Melissa Stackhouse. Harpers' US correspondent, Larry Walker, was among the judges.