Winemaker Maggie Malick, owner of Maggie Malick Wine Caves, is the recipient of four medals for excellence in wine making at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
The competition is the largest wine contest in the world solely for American wines. Malick won one gold, two silver, and one bronze medal for her cave-aged, estate-grown wines. Those include gold for the 2015 Petit Verdor, silver for the 2016 Viognier and 2015 Merlot, and bronze for the 2014 Petit Verdot Reserve
More than 7,000 wines submitted from 36 states were reviewed in a blind judging by experts from the media, education, trade, and hospitality industries to determine the best wine America has to offer.
Maggie Malick Wine Caves was one of only 22 of Virginia’s 270 wineries to win medals in the competition. Because of the competition’s size and the expertise of the judging panel, this competition is often considered the ultimate barometer for wine consumers to select and measure wine, according to a press release from Maggie Malick Wine Caves.
“The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the definitive competition for American wines,” said Esther Mobley, the wine, beer and spirits editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. “To win a medal here—to stand out in a crowd of 7,000-plus submissions—is an enormous accomplishment for a winery.”
“We put our focus on making the best wine that we can,” Malick said. “It is gratifying when other professionals, in the leading wine-producing state in the country, recognize the hard work that Virginia’s winemakers put into creating the best possible wines.”
Malick’s award comes on the heels of her double gold medals at the San Francisco International Wine Competition in July 2017 for her Tannat 2014. That wine was awarded gold by every judge, scored 95 points, and was recognized as best of show for Tannat.
Malick and husband Mark say they are the perfect wine couple, each a complement to the other: He grows grapes, and she makes the wine. Both Malick and her husband are former U.S. Navy officers. Maggie Malick also works as an aeronautical engineer. Mark Malick is a retired airline pilot, and a commercial vineyard real estate agent. The couple grow 15 varieties of Old World vinifera, grapes from the regions where winemaking first originated.
The couple got their start in wine-making when they bought a neglected, Christmas tree farm in northern Loudoun County. Lifelong wine aficionados, they decided to re-purpose the land in 2001 and plant 5 acres of grapes. At first, the couple sold their grapes to regional Virginia wineries. But over the course of a decade, they expanded their vineyards and the selection of grape varieties. Maggie produced her first professional vintage in 2011. She bottled those wines in the summer of 2013 and opened her winery’s doors that fall.
Their vineyard and winery are located on 215 rolling acres in the shadow of Short Hill Mountain in the Between the Hills Valley, near Harpers Ferry National Park.
Maggie’s Wine Cave is a man-made structure covered in 4 feet of earth and grass. Malick says it provides a unique wine-aging process for a Virginia winery.
The Wine Cave tasting room and wine production facility is a modern twist on how wine was stored historically. Before the days of modern refrigeration, wine was kept in natural, underground caves because of their high humidity, which prevented evaporation of the product, and cool constant temperatures, perfect for the lengthy wine- aging process.
Today, Malick produces 10 to 15 different varieties of wine.