The San Francisco International Wine Competition recently scored a colossal pool of wine – a total of 4,556 bottlings – and a local winemaker gets kudos.

Corey Beck, winemaker of Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, won the Andre Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year Award.

Andre Tchelistcheff, for the uninitiated, is known as the Russian who revolutionized California cabernet. He joined Beaulieu Vineyards  in 1938 and introduced new techniques to Wine Country, most notably aging wine in small French oak barrels. Tchelistcheff focused on high end cabernet and by the mid-1940s “Private Reserve” was recognized as the benchmark for California Cabernet Sauvignon, and was served at all important White House functions.

Tchelistcheff was only 4’11” but he became a legend and three generations of California winemakers affectionately referred to him as the “Maestro.”

Does the honor of being called Maestro come with the Andre Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year Award? Maestro Beck? For those who admire the man who revolutionized California cabernet, that would be the best prize of all.

For a complete list of the winners and judges, visit the San Francisco International Wine Competition’s website: The awards included 202 Double Gold, 363 Gold, 1,358 Silver and 1,613 Bronze.