Sutter Home Family Vineyards Crowns 30th Annual Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest Champion

$30,000 Grand Prize Awarded to 20-Year Entrant Susan Mason for Happy Apple Day Swiss Burger

ST. HELENA, Calif., October 27, 2020Sutter Home Family Vineyards, creator of the nation’s longest running burger contest, today announced Susan Mason of Puyallup, Washington as the Grand Prize Winner of its annual Build a Better Burger® Recipe Contest, an American tradition since 1990. Sutter Home awarded Mason with a $30,000 cash prize after three culinary judges tasted and declared her Happy Apple Day Swiss Burger the winner. Five regional champions competed for the top prize, with recipes spanning the Lucky Duck Burger submitted by Brett Youmans of Lewes, Delaware to the El Porque Burger created by Chuck Vogel of Shingle Springs, California. All five semi-finalists received high praises from the judging panel, but only Mason was awarded the enviable $30,000 grand prize that inspired more than 500 recipe entries during the contest’s milestone 30th year.

The Happy Apple Day Swiss Burger recipe that won the hearts of the judging panel came to Susan serendipitously. “I really enjoy doing research, and I just happened to find myself in Switzerland,” Mason recounted. “I learned that the third Friday of September in Switzerland is Happy Apple Day. They believe that they​ grow the very best apples, and apples are Switzerland’s most popular fruit. With that inspiration, I put my thinking cap on and thought about the wine pairing.”

Sutter Home’s recipe and pairing “Burger Base” helped guide her. “The recipe became a wonderful song,” Mason explained. “It has creamy gruyere, prosciutto, apple and a sauce that’s so good it should be put in a bottle and sold. As it turns out, the Sutter Home Moscato that I used in the sauce to round out the burger is as important as the Sutter Home Pinot Grigio​ that I paired with my burger. It goes so well together – It’s just such a happy burger.”

Mason’s burger caught the attention of Chef Lars Kronmark, CWP Professor Culinary Arts and frequent Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest judge. “The rich prosciutto, the flavor of the meat and the bright, crisp apples were great together,” Kronmark said. “I’ve never had apples on a burger before – it got my attention and surprised me. Together with Sutter Home Pinot Grigio, it was the best pairing of the day.”

Mason’s victory was hard-earned; she at last emerged victorious after entering the competition for 20 years. This year’s creation came to Mason’s mind during a particularly challenging time during the pandemic. “When that burger came together, it was in the darkest part of the year,” Mason recalled. “I haven’t been working – it’s just been nuts.”

The trials and tribulations of 2020 made victory that much sweeter. “Winning the Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest is a complete Godsend,” Mason exclaimed. “I am so thrilled. This just made my full year and life! I’m definitely going to pour myself a glass of Sutter Home and celebrate.”

The family-owned Napa Valley winery shares Mason’s enthusiasm for the win. “The Sutter Home team couldn’t be happier that Susan took home the grand prize of this year’s Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest,” said Brie Wohld, vice president, marketing for Sutter Home. “We admire Susan’s 20 years of determination and applaud her commitment that paid off for her in our contest’s milestone 30th year.”

Sutter Home’s Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest will once again open in spring 2021, for its 31st year. All are encouraged to submit their favorite burger recipes for their chance to win $25,000. For additional information on the contest or to access past Sutter Home Build a Better Burger recipes, along with wine pairing suggestions, visit

About Sutter Home

When the Trinchero family bought the Sutter Home Winery in 1948, they had vision, passion and a keen insight into consumer tastes. In the early 1970s, Sutter Home revolutionized the way Americans enjoyed wine when it created the first-ever White Zinfandel, introducing a new, sweeter style of wine—along with several other crowd-pleasing varietals—at an affordable price. By the 1980s and 1990s, Sutter Home became a household name as the second largest independent, family-owned winery in the United States. In 2005, the winery was the first to produce the groundbreaking single-serve, 187ml package in light-weight plastic bottles. Today, Sutter Home continues to reflect the evolution of its consumers, offering more than 21 different varietals in 750ml, 187ml and 1.5L bottles, 500ml Tetra Pak® packages and new 3L bag-in-box packages. For more information visit

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Sutter Home was once again proud to partner with Weber Grills for the 2020 Build a Better Burger® retail promotion.

Media Contact:

Brittany Haning, senior public relations manager for Trinchero Family Estates

[email protected]