The 2023 Virginia Governor's Cup® Competition marks another record-breaking year for the Virginia Wine industry. With 614 entries from across the state, 66 wineries in the Commonwealth were awarded with 142 gold medals.
Top gold collectors this year include Michael Shaps with eight (plus oodles more from wines they make for contract winemaking clients), King Family Vineyards with seven, Paradise Springs Winery and Pippin Hill Vineyard (a Shaps client) with six each, Pollak Vineyards, Trump Winery, and Shenandoah Vineyards (a Shaps-owned winery) with five each.
In its 41st year, the competition has garnered a reputation for being one of the most stringent in the nation while highlighting the most outstanding wines, ciders and meads being produced in Virginia. Medals are awarded after a series of rigorous blind tastings by a prestigious panel of judges, led by competition director Jay Youmans, Master of Wine. To receive a gold medal, a wine must receive an average score of 90 points or higher on a 100-point scale.
"The Virginia Wineries Association is thrilled to announce this incredible number of gold medal winning-wines," said Virginia Wineries Association President George Hodson. "The gold medals span eight regions and are crafted with over 20 grape varieties all grown in Virginia, producing quality wines expressive of their farms and the Commonwealth of Virginia."
Youmans added, "The overall quality of the wines was the highest we have seen. Leading the way are the red blends, many of which are produced in a Meritage style, Petit Verdot, Petit Manseng and Cabernet Franc."
These categories spotlighted by Youmans account for over half the medals with 28 red blends, 24 Petit Verdots, 16 Cabernet Francs and 11 Petit Mansengs taking home gold medals. In addition to the top wine categories, nine ciders also earned a Gold Medal.
Along with the diversity in styles of wine, the gold medal winning producers are located across Virginia. The Central Virginia region was awarded 72 medals, Northern Virginia received 39 and the Shenandoah Valley received 20. The remaining medals can be found in the Blue Ridge, Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, Southern Virginia and Virginia Mountain regions of the state. See the full list of medalists.
On February 23, the Virginia Wine Board will host the Virginia Governor's Cup® Gala at Richmond's Main Street Station to unveil the competition's top awards—the Governor's Cup® Case, consisting of the 12 highest-scoring red and white wines, Best in Show Cider and the coveted Governor's Cup®.
Beginning March 1, Virginia Wine fans eager to taste the winning wineries can sign up for the complimentary Gold Medal Wine Trail, a mobile passport that features the 66 gold medal winners. As users check-in at participating venues, they will unlock access to exclusive prizes and special offers. Get more information and sign up for the Gold Medal Wine Trail here.
About the Virginia Governor's Cup® Competition
The Virginia Wineries Association's Governor's Cup® is held in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board. All entries must be made from 100% Virginia-grown fruit to be eligible. Each wine is ranked based on a unified scoring system. For more information about the Virginia Governor's Cup® Competition and for a full list of winners, visit: www.virginiawine.org/governors-cup.