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

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