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Loudoun vineyard wins Virginia’s top wine award

By Amelia Heymann, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – While wines from the Trump Vineyard Estates in Charlottesville didn’t make it into the governor’s cabinet, Loudoun County was the big winner at the 35th Governor’s Wine Cup.

Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards won the 2017 Governor’s Cup for its 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the first time a winery from Loudoun County has won the award.

“We are honored to be among the Virginia wineries who have won the Governor’s Cup in previous years,” said Andrew Fialdini, the owner of the Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards. “After years in government service, my wife and I were looking to start a second career where we could work the land. This experience has surpassed all our expectations.”

Fialdini said that he and his wife Maryann weren’t looking to expand the vineyard in the future and that they wanted to keep their operation small.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe congratulated the couple. “The Barns at Hamilton Station Cabernet Sauvignon – one of many great products helping to make Virginia the preeminent East Coast destination for wine and winery tourism.”

During the ceremony at the John Marshall Hotel, McAuliffe bragged about the quality of Virginia wine. The governor said he told Californians their wine tasted like automotive fluid in comparison.

“By the time I’m done, they’re going to think Napa is an auto parts company,” McAuliffe said to a laughing crowd.

This year’s other winners were:

  • Barboursville Vineyards, 2013 Paxxito
  • Breaux Vineyards, 2012 Meritage
  • Horton Vineyards, 2015 Viognier
  • Ingleside Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • Jefferson Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • King Family Vineyards, 2014 Loreley
  • King Family Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, 2014 Meritage
  • Valley Road Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • Veritas Vineyard and Winery, 2014 Petit Manseng
  • Veritas Vineyard and Winery, 2014 Petit Verdot Paul Shaffer 6th Edition

At the gala, the 12 highest-ranking white and red wines were showcased. The winners were decided by 40 “world-class” judges in blind tastings. Winners were ranked based on their average score for appearance, aroma, flavor, overall quality and commercial suitability. The preliminary judging went over the span of four weeks in Washington, D.C., with the final tasting the last week of January at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Virginia officials said the Governor’s Wine Cup is one of the nation’s most stringent competitions, with 429 wine entries from 102 Virginia wineries. Only 23 wines won a gold medal this year. None of them, however, from President Trump’s winery.

Also during the gala, the Gordon W. Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to David King of the King Family Vineyards in Crozet. In his acceptance speech, King reminded the audience that there are challenges in growing a vineyard. They can include unpredictable weather and the difficulties selling wine directly to customers.

“There are still battles to come this year,” King said. “The one thing about the wine industry is, afterward we can have a glass of wine.”

 

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