Thursday, March 21, 2024

2024 Virginia Governor's Cup Gala and the Gold Medal Wine Trail

On March 7th, Virginia wine fans and industry personnel gathered at Richmond's Main Street Station to taste and converse with the producers of the Gold medal winning wines from the 2024 Governor's Cup Competition. Out of 752 entries, 138 gold medals were awarded representing 79 different wineries. In addition, the wineries representing the top 12 wines belonging to the Governor's Case Club were introduced with Governor Glenn Youngkin announcing the winner of the overall competition. This honor was bestowed on King Family Vineyards for their 2019 Meritage -- a blend of estate grown Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec -- and produced by winemaker Matthieu Finot.

Before this announcement Buskey Cider was awarded the Best in Show Cider for their Ruby Red Crab Apple. The Richmond based cidery produces this dry cider using 100% Virginia grown ruby red crab apples. According to the cidery, "..fermented to completely dry, these apples were chosen for their high acid, tannin, and mouth-puckering fruit character".

The Gala itself was a fantastic event -- from the location to the food to the fabulous wines. Shoutout to Chef Leah Branch of The Roosevelt for the Lobster Hushpuppies; Chef Dale Reitzer of Acacia for the Smoked Bluefish Salad; and oysters from the Rappahannock Oyster Co

On the wine side we used the opportunity to catch up with old friends and acquaintances such as the crew at Paradise Springs Winery and to taste their excellent 2022 Petit Manseng. Michael Shaps Wineworks had multiple Gold winning wines including another Petit Manseng. A third Gold winning Petit Manseng was produced by newcomer Southwest Mountains Vineyards. This Keswick winery also poured a delicious 2021 Cabernet Franc -- put this winery on your radar. Half a dozen AlbariƱo wines were awarded Gold medals included one from another new winery, 7 Lady Vineyards, but also from several we previously tasted at 8 Chains North Winery, Afton Mountain Vineyards, Cana Vineyards, October One Vineyard, and Potomac Point Winery & Vineyard.

A few other producers that we plan on following up with are Muse Vineyards, Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Breaux Vineyards, Carriage House Wineworks, Capstone Vineyards, and Black Heath Meadery. Look forward to future posts regarding their Gold winning wines. 

The downside to the event is that the three-hour time period was way too short to meet all the winemakers and sip all the wines. Fortunately Virginia Wine has instituted a Gold Medal Wine Trail where consumers can explore Virginia wine country and sip these award winning wines. We obviously prefer theCompass Craft Beverage Finder, but recommend downloading this mobile passport. 

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Wine

Governor's Case Club:

  • Afton Mountain Vineyards, 2019 T
  • Barboursville Vineyards, 2019 Paxxito
  • Bluestone Vineyard, 2017 Petit Verdot
  • Breaux Vineyards, 2019 The Fog Nebbiolo Reserve
  • Cave Ridge Vineyard, 2019 Fossil Hill Reserve
  • Cross Keys Vineyards, Blanc De Noir
  • Hark Vineyards, 2019 Spark
  • King Family Vineyards, 2019 Meritage (Winner of the Virginia Governor’s Cup)
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, 2020 L.Scott
  • Mountain and Vine Vineyards and Winery, 2022 Chardonnay
  • October One Vineyard, 2022 AlbariƱo
  • Paradise Springs Winery, 2022 Petit Manseng

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