Pollak Vineyards Wins “Best Small Winery” Award in CA Competition, 93 pts. for 3 wines by BTI

Oct 12

Pollak Vineyards in Greenwood won the “Best Small Winery” award of the 2011 Riverside International Wine Competition, held in the city of that name.  The awards that led to this prestigious accolade included Chairman’s Award (unanimous gold) for their 2009 petit verdot, gold for their 2010 viognier, silver medals for their 2008 merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, and bronze for their 2008 meritage.

In addition, Pollak had fifteen wines reviewed and scored by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago; ten of the 15 received scores of 88 or higher, including 3 that scored 93 points each. These included: 2009 Estate Reserve cabernet sauvignon, 2008 Estate Meritage and 2009 Estate Petit Verdot (all in the Monticello AVA).


Oct 07

Consumers Invited to Share 47 Words About “The Other 47″

(September 15, 2011) – DrinkLocalWine hosts the fourth annual Regional Wine Week from Sunday, October 9 through Saturday, October 15, where wine writers, bloggers and enthusiasts share information about wine from “The Other 47″ states (excluding California, Washington and Oregon), providing a one-stop shop to see what’s cutting edge in regional wine.

DrinkLocalWine invites consumers to join the fun during Regional Wine Week and share stories and personal anecdotes about their local pour in 47 words. The DrinkLocalWine’s 47 Words Contest kicks off Sunday, Oct. 9 and ends Sat., Oct. 15.

The rules are simple: write 47 words following the theme that there are hidden gems among the other 47 wine producing states. If you know one of those gems, whether it’s a wine, a producer or a region, tell us about it in 47 words. Entries are due by midnight ET on Sat., Oct. 15; email them to drinklocalwine@gmail.com.

DrinkLocalWine board members will select winners based on creativeness, inventiveness and whether they’re 47 words long. Prizes for the winners include:
· Tickets to DLW 2012: Colorado, the fourth annual regional wine conference in Denver in April 2012;
· Autographed copies of Todd Kliman’s best-selling book, The Wild Vine;
· Copies of The Sipping Point, written by Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach, as well as two combo packs of the book and her DVD; and
· Packages of Wine Shields, the innovative way to preserve open wine.

During Regional Wine Week, writers across the U.S. post stories about their favorite regional and local wines, wineries, and events to their blogs, Web sites, magazines, and newspapers. Then, the DrinkLocalWine website aggregates the stories, providing a snapshot of regional wine. Over the past three years, writers from across the country have covered dozens of states.

The only rule? That the blog post or article be about something that isn’t from California, Washington or Oregon. And anyone — whether professional wine writer or not — can submit a story to be linked to on the DrinkLocalWine site.

For information about Regional Wine Week, the essay contest, or to submit a story link, call (978) 276-9463 or email drinklocalwine@gmail.com .

Media Contact:
Denise Fraser

New Kent Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve 2009 Wins VA White Wine Governor’s Cup

Oct 05

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was the venue on Wednesday October 5th for the unveiling of the white wine winner of the 2011 Virginia Wine Governor’s Cup.

The   was drawn from a field of other gold medal winners, who had competed against each other in a finalist round to determine the best of the group, at the competition in August.

The finalists included: for dry wines,

  • New Kent Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve 2009
  • North Gate Vineyards Viognier 2010
  • Prince Michel Petit Manseng 2008, Mt. Juliet Vineyard

For semi-dry wines,

  • James river Cellars vidal 2010
  • Barren Ridge Vineyards “Harmony” 2009

For sweet wines,

  • Bluestone Vineyards “Blue Ice” NV
  • Willowcroft “Claire” 2010

Rock Stephens, Chair of the Virginia Wine Board, began the ceremonies and introduced Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore. The Secretary officially opened Virginia Wine Month by reading a proclamation written by Governor McDonnell, which noted that 439 cases of Virginia wines were sold in the last year at about $83 million in retail sales, harvesting more than 69 tons at crop value exceeding $13 million.

Next, Stephens introduced Jeff Cooper, Chair of the Virginia Wine Governor’s Cup wine competition, who noted that this was the 30th annual Cup competition, who noted that 52 wineries participated, with 26 judges. He then asked for representatives of each of the seven finalists to come up on stage, when their wines were announced.

Secretary Haymore then returned to the podium to introduce and acknowledge others including Annette, Amy and Mary Katharine at the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, then First Lady Maureen McDonnell who has taken a strong personal commitment to promoting the Virginia wine industry.

Mrs. McDonnell explained that her first introduction to wine was in her mother’s root cellar. When her husband was posted to Germany in the military, they were exposed to fine German wine and later to California wine. Then, when they were running for Governor, she remembers getting bottles of Williamsburg Winery’s “Governor’s white”, and after her husband was elected, she decided to visit Virginia wineries and promote the industry. “I recognized there were such wonderful people in this industry that never put each other down, they all wanted each other to succeed; I thought ‘I love these people’, and they were so grateful, but I just wanted to publicize what they were doing.”

She then explained that she planted chambourcin vines at the Governor’s Mansion, in honor of the settlers of 1607. “Next year we’ll have a bi-centennial wine we plan to blend with wines of different regions of the state to celebrate and document what Virginia has achieved.”

She then introduced Governor McDonnell, who she said has always intended to live the Boy Scout example of leaving the campsite and Virginia better than he found it.

Governor McDonnell recalled that in 1979 there were 6 wineries, and today there are nearly 200. He acknowledged how difficult it was to make money in this industry and that it was a complicated business with many facets like growing, winemaking bottling and marketing, but noted that the economic impact of the VA wine industry was over $350 million dollars five years ago, when there were only 120 wineries, and that VA is now #5 in the U.S. for wine production. “We’re going to Israel and India next month” to promote VA wine and agriculture, he declared. “This is an exciting time for Virginia wine; look out, California.”

The Governor then had the First Lady hand him the envelope, and announced that the white wine Governor’s Cup winner for white wine for 2011 was New Kent Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve 2009. Pete Johns, proprietor of New Kent, accepted the award and acknowledged his partners, and also winemaker Tom Payette, who had also made the wine that won the 2011 Red Governor’s Cup (Fox Meadow’s Le Renard Rouge).

For more details on the complete competition results, please visit www.virginiawine.org

Donald, Eric Trump with Governor and Mrs. McDonnell, others, Host Grand Opening of Trump Winery (formerly Kluge Estate Vineyard)

Oct 05

It was a fitting start to October as Virginia Wine Month that the first day of warm, dry weather after the most dismal September harvest weather in memory, Tuesday October Fourth, was the setting for a picture book late afternoon ceremony in Albemarle County, home to the new Trump Winery and vineyards (formerly known as Kluge Estate Vineyard.

The occasion was the Grand Opening of the property (featuring over 1,600 acres of prime vineyards with winery, equipment and several thousand cases of labeled inventory for sale) under the new ownership and management of the Trump Organization. Donald Trump himself was on hand (via a branded helicopter), for a press conference, along with his son Eric, new head of operations at the winery (and Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions for the Trump Organization), and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell, Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore, and former owners Patricia Kluge and Bill Moses.

Standing on a platform with the vineyard in the background to stage left, helicopter and pond in the background to stage right, Donald Trump opened the press conference by saying “I really think this will be one of the great wineries of the world.” He praised Mrs. Kluge and Bill Moses for building a reputation for products of high quality which represented Virginia well, and also in acknowledging Governor and Mrs. McDonnell as the leading ambassadors of Virginia wine. When asked if he knew New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had announced he would not run for president and whether he thought Governor McDonnell would make a good “second man” on a ticket, Trump replied “Governor McDonnell is respected all over the country and the world; he would not only make a good “second man” for any ticket, but a good candidate in his own right.”

Governor McDonnell was grateful in turn for the Trumps’ investment in Virginia (acknowledging as well their successful golf club on the Potomac River in Loudoun County). “The Trump name is synonymous with business success. We look forward to a marvelous and successful endeavor with the Trump management organization combined with Kluge wine quality.” The Governor pointed out that agriculture was Virginia’s largest business sector at $59 billion annually, and Virginia wine sales grew 11% over the last year, while the number of state wineries has nearly doubled just in the last five years from 120 to nearly 200 today.

Questions were then taken from the press. One reporter asked what kind of new development would take place on the premises; “Very high-end and low-key” replied Donald Trump, who “wouldn’t comment” on whether a hotel would be built, but was clear that any future development would be consistent with “whatever the community agrees to.”

“With respect, how do you expect to make money in this enterprise where Patricia Kluge failed?” asked another reporter. Donald Trump pointed out that he held no mortgage on the property but had paid cash; being free from the burdens of mortgages enabled the business to operate much more freely, he explained.

This reporter asked Mr. Trump what kinds of new products the public could expect, in addition to the existing line of Kluge Estate wines. At that point he deferred to his son Eric, who with Mrs. Kluge answered the question, though she made clear that he was “her boss.” “We are currently re-gaining market distribution nationally” for the existing Kluge brands, he explained. A new line of Trump wines will be unveiled in six months, says Eric, adding that they are now under “secret” development until then, as they examine various market segments. As the word spreads that the Trump organization has taken over the management and distribution of the Kluge brand, Eric says, the national wine press has been very interested in the story.

When this reporter asked if he would commit the Trump brand to being 100% Virginia wine, Eric Trump answered unequivocally “Yes.”

“Why Virginia and why now?” asked another reporter. “We see a great opportunity here,” explained Eric Trump, noting that Virginia is now where Oregon had been 20 years ago. Governor McDonnell added that Virginia is now the fifth largest wine producing state, and pointed out that in 2008 Travel & Leisure magazine had named Virginia one of the five most promising wine regions; “Watch out, California!” In addition, he noted that the ceremonies were taking place just a few miles from Monticello where Thomas Jefferson attempted to grow the European vinifera  grape vines 200 years ago. “One of the great things about the Virginia wine industry is winery tourism,” he observed.

After refreshments had been taken, Patricia Kluge took the platform and gave a touching tribute to the work she and her husband Bill Moses had done, and to the Trumps for taking up the torch. “I feel like I gave birth to this place and I’m very pleased to see it handed over to someone I’ve known and liked for 30 years. It took him three minutes to completely get the potential for this operation; Donald is the wind beneath my wings. I think the whole Virginia wine industry will be the beneficiary of this relationship.”

Donald Trump gave a sense of new purpose and even challenge to his new operation by saying “We’re going to do something really terrific that hasn’t even been done in California; we’ll be producing an incredible number of wines and wonderful events here.” Added Governor McDonnell, “Putting the Trump label on wines from the Kluge vineyards is like a match made in heaven.” First Lady Maureen McDonnell shared how, in commemoration of the “Acte Twelve” of 1619, she and the Governor had planted chambourcin vines at the Governor’s Mansion, and she was looking forward to their first vintage, which would coincide with the bicentennial of the Governor’s Mansion.

At sunset, Donald Trump fittingly left the property in his branded helicopter, flying into the sunset, over the vineyards.

Former Kluge Estate Vineyards Re-opens as Trump Winery Tues. 10/4

Oct 04

The former Kluge Estate Vineyards south of Charlottesville will re-open Tuesday 10/4 as Trump Winery. Donald Trump bought some 1,600 acres of vineyards, a winery and related equipment, in an auction last year from Farm Credit of Virginia, who was owed some $32 million on the estate by Patricia Kluge; for less than $9 million. Wines immediately for sale will be labeled as the Kluge Estate Vineyards products carried over from the previous ownership.

Donald’s son Eric will head the new Trump Winery; Patricia Kluge and her husband Bill Moses have been hired as part of the new operation.

A Grand Opening ceremony will take place at the winery Tuesday afternoon, with both Donald and Eric Trump in attendance, along with Kluge and Moses, as well as Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore.