Virginia Governors Cup Elite 2016
When I was a kid going to the candy store, I was always in search of my favorite sweet treats. Mary Jane, Squirrels, Black Jack Taffy, Bit o’ Honey, Pixy Stix, Goo Goo Clusters, and Fireball Jawbreakers were some of my favorites! Now as an adult, my tastes have changed, well, quite a bit to a more mature palate and wine is my new “candy”! Virginia has such a great selection of fantastic wines and going to the wineries to sample their nectar is always a fun event! As an Outsider looking on the inside of Virginia’s wineries, I am feeling like a kid in a candy store all over again. There are so many different wines, flavors, and cool entertainment! And the prestigious Governor’s Cup is the cherry on top if you are one of the selected few to reach the Virginia Governor’s Cup Case. I am from Michigan, the land of Rieslings and Pinot Noir which are great cool climate wines that can withstand Michigan’s cold weather. But I never realized that Virginia had such a large wine production until I moved here last December and discovered all of the wineries. And the quality of the wines here are very impressive and show such pure balanced flavors.
This year in 2016, the Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition had over 430 entries with 130 of those wines advancing to the final round of the competition. In the end, there were 38 Gold medals awarded, 224 Silver medals, and 159 Bronze. Out of those 38 Gold medals, 12 had to be chosen to reach the Governor’s Cup Case with only one ultimate winner from those to win the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup! Keswick Vineyards was the ultimate winner with their 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve with talented winemaker Stephen Barnard at the helm. Keswick Vineyards owners, Al and Cindy Schornberg, are very pleased to have won their second Governor’s Cup in the last eight years. The Schornbergs are truly excited that their vision of owning a world-class winery has actually come to fruition.
The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Case Winners were: Horton Vineyards, 2014 Petit Manseng Bluestone Vineyard, 2014 Chardonnay Barboursville Vineyards, 2014 Vermentino Michael Shaps, 2014 Petit Manseng Cardinal Point Winery, 2014 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc Fabbioli Cellars, 2012 Cabernet Franc Granite Heights Winery, 2010 Evening Serenade Naked Mountain Winery, 2012 Petit Verdot North Gate Vineyard, 2013 Meritage Stone Tower Winery, 2013 Hogback Mountain Glen Manor Vineyards, 2013 Hodder Hill Keswick Vineyards, 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve
Another thing that impressed me was the Governor’s Cup Case Seminars that are held at different locations around the state by the Virginia Wineries Association (VWA). This gives a chance for winemakers, owners, and winery employees to learn about the wines in the Virginia Cup Case and share tips and ideas about how these 12 amazing wines were produced! Many winemakers discussed problems that may have occurred along the way in producing their wines. Things like weather problems and how they overcame those conditions, problems with insects and other pests, different techniques they used in the cellar, and the use of science and chemistry to make their wines some of the best!
The last of the four Governor’s Cup Case Seminars was at Keswick Vineyards and hosted by Master of Wine Jay Youmans. All 12 Virginia Governor’s Cup Case wines were there and were sampled by those who attended the seminar. This gave everyone a chance to compare the wines together in one sitting and decide if the judges were correct in their decisions. Most of us agreed that all the wines in the Cup Case belonged there including the Keswick Vineyard 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve being the best. Cheers to all the medal winners in the 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Wine Competition! And cheers to the hopes that you visit your favorite Virginia wineries soon and enjoy the flavors of the seasons.