Virginia recently announced its Governors Cup Case, a list of the state’s 12 best wines for 2021.
Frank Morgan, who writes throughout the year on the state’s wines and wineries in a blog called Drink What YOU Like, will use the proximity of that announcement as the hook for his second annual Open That Bottle of Virginia Wine day. He’ll talk about the state of the industry with a panel of guests who are immersed in it.
Its purpose is to bring awareness to Virginia wines, wineries and winemakers along with the ciders that more and more producers are making.
Over two dozen wineries and cideries across the state are offering special “Open Virginia Wine” day: You can see all those specials here.
If you have any of these bottles at home or take the time today to purchase several, Morgan is inviting you to open a bottle (or two) during the program that begins at 5 p.m., post a photo, and use the hashtag #OpenVAWine.
Morgan and his group will use the dinner hour to talk about the Virginia wine industry. He has assembled a group that included Betting Ring, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry; Master of Wine Jay Youmans, who organizes the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition; oenologist Dr. Joy Ting, who runs the Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange; and winemakers Caitlin Horton of Horton Vineyards and Ben Jordan of Early Mountain Vineyards.
You can register to join the discussion at this link.
In the Governor’s Cup competition, Horton earned three golds (for its Petit Verdot, Tannat and Petit Verdot Reserve) and Early Mountain early four (for two of its Cabernet Francs, a Petit Mensang-dominated white blend called Five Forks and a Merlot-dominated red blend called Eluvium).
You can see the full list of gold-medal winners here. The announcement of all the winners was made March 9.
More than 100 Virginia wineries submitted 544 wines for this year’s competition. The highest 12 ranking red and white wines earned a spot in the Governor’s Cup Case, with one of those winning the Governor’s Cup.
It’s a contest that has been ongoing since 1982, and this year’s list featured the names of many wineries that have been appeared there before.
Barboursville Vineyards, one of the country’s top wineries, landed three finalists: its 2015 Paxxito, 2016 Octagon and 2019 Vermentino Reserve. Paxxito is a dessert wine made from Moscato Ottonel and Vidal grapes. The 2016 Octagon, a Bordeaux red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, and the 2019 Vermentino Reserve, a white wine made from Vermentino grapes and fermented in stainless steel.
Ultimately, Paxxito earned Barboursville its fifth Governor’s Cup.
Among the other wineries placing in the top 12 were Breaux Vineyards (2016 Nebbiolo and 2016 Meritage), Bluestone Vineyard (2019 Petit Manseng), King Family Vineyards (2017 Mountain Plains, a red blend) and Veritas Winery (2017 Petit Verdot).
The list of finalists can be found at this link.
Asked for his assessment of the Cup competition, one he helped judge, Morgan said: “This year’s Governor’s Cup really does showcase the viticultural diversity and potential of Virginia — wines made from 20 different grapes earned gold medals, new wineries like Carriage House to the most established winery, Barboursville, across all regions. What an exciting time for the Virginia wine industry.”
He also noted that the local cider industry has grown so much it now warrants its own category within the Governor’s Cup competition. You can find that list of winners here.
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