In a major coup for Loudoun’s wine community, Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday night awarded the 2017 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup to The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards for its 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The announcement was made at the VWA’s Governor’s Cup Gala, hosted by the Virginia Wine Board at John Marshall Hotel in Richmond.
“As we work with our private sector partners to build a new Virginia economy, our wineries will continue to play a large role in generating new revenue and job opportunities, especially in rural areas where most of our wineries are located, through increased sales and other tourism generated business,” McAuliffe said during the ceremony. “My congratulations to Andrew and Maryann Fialdini for this year’s winner, 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.”
It is the first time a Loudoun wine has won the Governor’s Cup.
Michael Shaps, of Charlottesville, was the winemaker. “Our team is especially proud of this wine. It is a classic Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfectly balanced, and has mature tannins that are ripe but not overly extracted; and it has nice acidity,” he stated. “The fruit comes from mostly Carter’s Mountain with some additional fruit from Mount Juliet vineyards. Carter’s Mountain has southwest exposure, constant breezes, great drainage and a slightly cooler climate to retain nature acidity.”
The Barns at Hamilton Station was developed as a second career for the Fialdinis. “This experience has surpassed all our expectations. We are very proud of this Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage was a special one and we knew we wanted to develop a wine that was 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon with the fruit from this vintage.”
The 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was conducted over four weeks of preliminary tastings, held at the Capital Wine School in Washington, DC last month. The final round of tastings was held at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond during the last week of January.
The Governor’s Cup award winner was selected from the 2017 Governor’s Cup Case, a selection of the top 12 scoring wines chosen from 494 entries of both red and white wines, from 102 wineries. Now in its 35th year, the competition was revamped in 2012 to become one of the most stringent and thorough wine competitions in the country.
The 11 other top wines to be included in the Governor’s Cup Case are:
- 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
Wine included in the Governor’s Cup Case will be used by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office for marketing and the award-winning wines will be used in winemaker roundtable discussions to improve overall quality of Virginia wines.
Today, there are over 280 wineries in Virginia, and 330 vineyards that cultivate more than 3,800 acres of grapes. A recent economic impact study revealed that Virginia’s wine industry contributes $1.37 billion to Virginia’s economy and provides for 8,218 jobs in the Commonwealth. Virginia wineries attract over 2.2 million visitors annually helping build jobs in Virginia’s rural areas.