RICHMOND, Va. – Loudoun County vintners had a historic showing in the 2014 Governor's Cup wine competition, the top results of which were released here Thursday night at the Hotel John Marshall.
A record four Loudoun wines placed in the Governor's Case – essentially the top 12 wines in Virginia, per the contest – including Sunset Hills Vineyards 2010 Mosaic, a meritage blend (which also placed in the case last year); Fabbioli Cellars' 2011 Tannat; North Gate Vineyards' 2011 Meritage; and Two Twisted Posts Winery's 2012 Chardonnay.
For local wine aficionados taking pause at Two Twisted Posts, the Purcellville winery has yet to officially open its doors, but plans to do so by mid-March.
Winning the Governor's Cup as the best of Virginia wine was The Williamsburg Winery's 2010 Adagio, a classical blend of cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot with a flair of the New World.
Any wine made from 100 percent Virginia fruit was eligible for the competition, and all entries included an affidavit of certification of 100 percent Virginia fruit and vineyard particulars, including grower names and location and information on alcohol, acidity or basicity (pH) and residual sugar, according to the Virginia Wine Marketing Board.
More than 400 red and white wines from 96 of the commonwealth's wineries were entered into this year's Governor's Cup, which was conducted over three weeks of preliminary tastings at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C. The final round of tastings was held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond in early February.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) entertained as the keynote speaker for the gala, which drew more than 500 attendees.
“I am honored to award the Governor's Cup to The Williamsburg Winery, one of Virginia's oldest and most prolific wineries,” Gov. McAuliffe said at the event. “It is no secret the commonwealth's wine industry has experienced tremendous growth both in quantity and quality in recent years. Such growth has an enormous impact on Virginia in terms of economic development and job creation. The Virginia Governor's Cup, now recognized as one of the nation's most stringent competitions, helps to raise awareness of the world class wines grown and blended right here in the commonwealth.”
Also in attendance from the political arena were local state Dels. Randy Minchew (R-10th) and David Ramadan (R-87th).
Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, appointed by Republican former Gov. Bob McDonnell and reappointed by McAuliffe, was honored as Virginia's "Wine Person of the Year" for his work promoting the commonwealth's wine.
According to a recent economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 and contributes nearly $750 million annually to the commonwealth's economy. In terms of wine grape production, Virginia is now tied for fifth with Texas.
Click here to read a full list of the Governor's Case wines and to learn more about the Governor's Cup competition.