Governor Bob McDonnell recently announced major changes to the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition that, once implemented, will make it one of the most stringent and thorough wine competitions in the United States. The revamped contest is a result of a partnership between the Virginia Wine Board (VWB), the Virginia Wineries Association (VWA), which owns and manages the competition, and the Virginia Vineyards Association (VVA).
Raising the profile of Virginia wines and winery tourism are key components of the Governor’s economic development and jobs creation initiatives. First Lady Maureen McDonnell has also incorporated the wine industry promotions into her First Lady Initiative Team Effort or FLITE.
Governor McDonnell explained “In addition to the national and international notoriety that Virginia wines are receiving, sales of our wines reached an all-time high last year and more and more people are visiting our wineries. I believe a top notch competition to showcase our best wines is essential for maintaining this positive growth.”
As part of the enhancement, the judging of both red and white wines will be divided into preliminary and final rounds to be held in January 2012. The announcement of the Governor’s Cup award winner will be held the evening of Thursday, February 23rd in conjunction with the Virginia Wine Expo, which runs February 24-26, 2012 in Richmond.
Any wine made from 100% Virginia fruit will be eligible for the Governor’s Cup Competition. Ciders and fruit wines will have their own category and medals. Entries must include an affidavit with a certification of 100% Virginia fruit and vineyard particulars, including grower names and location, as well as information on alcohol, acidity or basicity (pH), and residual sugar.
One of the most important aspects of the revised competition will be the educational component of the judging. After the competition, regional forums for the winemakers will be held with the head judge. Notes with the judges’ blind comments will be shared with individual winemakers, so that they will get direct feedback on how their wines were received.
Jay Youmans, one of only of 31 Masters of Wine (MW) in the U.S., will be the head judge of the competition. Youmans, who is also a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and the owner and educational director of the Capital Wine School in Washington, DC, will recruit the wine judges from the professional wine buying and wine media community.
“The new format for the Virginia Governor’s Cup will make it one of the preeminent wine competitions in the U.S today”, said Youmans. “It will become the benchmark with which all other wine shows will be measured, not simply because of the quality of the judges, or the rigorous selection process, but because of the critical feedback given to each participating winery. The competition will serve notice to the industry that Virginia is serious about producing high quality wines.”
“We are thrilled to have Jay Youmans MW lead the judging of this competition, elevating both the caliber of the judging process and the respect the competition receives,” said Mitzi Batterson, President, Virginia Wineries Association.
Created by the General Assembly in 1984 as part of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the VWB promotes the interests of vineyards and wineries in the Commonwealth through research, education and marketing. The Virginia Wineries Association has owned and organized the Governor’s Cup since 1982. VWA’s mission is to actively encourage and support the production, quality, promotion, and appreciation of Virginia wines. For a complete list of previous winners and further information about events, tours and tastings, please visit the Virginia Wine Marketing Office’s website at www.virginiawine.org/ or call 804-344-8200.