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Competition’s gold medal wines are the toast of Virginia

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The only challenge posed by Virginia’s new wine trail is having the time to taste each award-winning glass.

As part of the 2021 Virginia Governor’s Cup, the state’s most rigorous wine competition, judges sampled 544 entries and then awarded 47 wineries, cideries and meaderies with gold medals. Wine enthusiasts can taste the award-winning libations by following the Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold Medal Wine Trail between Northern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and the state’s coastal plain region.

“The wines in this year’s Governor’s Cup are a testament to the passion and pioneering spirit from which Virginia’s wine industry thrives,” noted Gov. Ralph Northam in a press release. “As we celebrate these high-quality and distinctive Virginia wines, we also honor the resilience of the farmers and winemakers who grow and craft them across our commonwealth.”

Virginia is making its mark in the wine world and is now home to 312 wineries. The state’s varied climates and planting zones allow growers to cultivate 28 varieties of grapes on more than 4,000 acres.

The gold medal-winning 2017 Petit Verdot from Lake Anna Winery in Spotsylvania County is one of them. Proprietor Ann Heidig said the winery’s first-ever petit verdot is rich, dark and full-bodied and expresses blackberry and licorice flavors augmented by two years in French oak barrels.

A previous gold medal winner is Lake Anna Winery’s 2018 Barrel Select Chardonnay. It’s a classic European-style oak-aged white with hints of English toffee and caramel apples underscored with tropical fruit, containing 5% seyval blanc grapes.

“We’ve aspired to be recognized for our wines by winning gold in the Governor’s Cup,” said Heidig, who also serves on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Specialty Crops Advisory Committee. “It’s really an honor any time you win, and that’s a tribute to our winemaker Graham Bell, and our son Eric, our vineyard guy.”

Heidig said people tend to think the best grapes and wines comes from Europe, California and Australia.

“But we want them to think of Virginia,” she said. “It’s very important to have these competitions to showcase the fact that both our reds and whites are excellent and recognized nationally. Because we use only Virginia grapes, that exposure highlights the quality of our growers.”

The Virginia Governor’s Cup is hosted by the Virginia Wineries Association, in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Vineyards Association. Visitors to the Gold Medal Wine Trail can utilize a mobile passport on a digital device to access discounts, free tastings and other perks.

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Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press