March 24, Richmond, VA (from the official press release by the Virginia Wine Marketing Office) – During the annual celebration held at Main Street Station, Governor Glenn Youngkin awarded the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup® to Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg for its 2019 Unité Reserve—a signature estate red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The competition received a record-breaking number of entries this year—615 wines from over 100 Virginia wineries.
Winemaker Melanie Natoli received the prestigious Governor’s Cup® on behalf of Cana Vineyards, becoming the first woman in the competition’s history to receive the award. Cana Vineyards’ first plantings were in 2012 with Natoli joining as winemaker and vineyard manager in 2015. The 2019 Unité Reserve is a particularly special wine for her as she notes, “it was in my hands from bud break to bottle.”
Cana Vineyards’ 2019 Unité Reserve earned the highest average score from a panel of esteemed judges who evaluated the wines based on appearance, aroma, flavor, commercial suitability and overall quality (disclosure: this writer is one of the judges, but all entries are judged blind).
The 2019 Unité Reserve will be featured alongside 11 other wines in the Virginia Governor’s Cup® Case, a collection of the competition’s 12 highest scoring wines. Cana Vineyards also placed a second meritage blend in the case with its 2019 Le Mariage.
The full case includes:
• Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg 2019 Unité Reserve
• 50 West Vineyards 2019 Ashby Gap
• Barboursville Vineyards 2020 Vermentino Reserve
• Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg 2019 Le Mariage
• Maggie Malick Wine Caves 2020 Albariño
• Michael Shaps Winery 2019 Chardonnay
• Pollak Vineyards 2017 Meritage
• Rockbridge Vineyard 2018 V d’Or
• Shenandoah Vineyards 2019 Reserve Red
• Stinson Vineyards 2017 Meritage
• Trump Winery 2015 Brut Reserve
• Wisdom Oak Winery 2019 NINETEEN
The Virginia Governor’s Cup® Case includes a variety of styles and represents three leading wine regions across the Commonwealth: Central Virginia, Northern Virginia and Shenandoah Valley. Seven wines in the case are meritage, Bordeaux-style blends—wines that balance the subtlety of the Old World with the boldness of the new, embodying Virginia’s unique place in the world.
Five of the top twelve gold medal wines in the Governor’s Case were red wines from the excellent 2019 vintage, which is already showing its pedigree in this year’s competition.
Elegant, expressive white varietals also tell the story of this year’s competition with Chardonnay, Vermentino, Albariño, sparkling and a dessert rounding out the case.
For the second consecutive year, Virginia cider was judged in its own category with the highest scoring cider named “Best in Show.” Earning three gold medals in this year’s competition, Albemarle Ciderworks received the top cider recognition for its 2019 Virginia Hewes Crab.
About the Virginia Governor’s Cup® Competition
The Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup® is held in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Vineyards Association.
All entries must be made from 100% Virginia-grown fruit to be eligible. Each wine is ranked based on a unified scoring system. For more information about the Virginia Governor’s Cup® Competition and a complete list of winners, visit: www.virginiawine.org/governors-cup.