VA Wine Sales Top Half Million Cases in FY 2013 for 1st Time

Aug 15

Sales of Virginia wine reached another all-time high in Fiscal Year 2013, increasing by more than 5 percent from FY2012.  Virginia wineries sold over 511,000 cases of wine in FY13 versus almost 485,000, the previous record high, in FY12 according to newly available sales figures compiled by the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office.  Since FY2010, when almost 415,000 cases were sold, sales of Virginia wines have increased by more than 23 percent.

Results of 2013 Michigan Wine Competition

Aug 08

Fifty-five of the state’s 102 wineries entered a record 450 wines for this year’s competition, which is open only to wine produced from Michigan grapes and other fruit. Gold medals were awarded to a wide variety of wines — from bone-dry reds to sweet and luscious dessert wines. At the end of the day, judges awarded the top “Best of Class” awards to six wines from a group of 42 gold medal winners, including six double gold.

The top award-winners are:

Sparkling: Black Star Farms 2012 “BeDazzled”

Dry White: Chateau Fontaine 2012 Pinot Blanc

Dry Red: Peninsula Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc

Semi-dry White: Boathouse Vineyards 2012 “Knot Too Sweet” Riesling

Semi-dry Red: Karma Vista Vineyards 2012 Devil’s Head Red

Dessert: Brys Estate 2011 “Dry Ice” Riesling Ice Wine

Visit for more information, and for a complete list of the medal-winning wines.


The competition is also sponsored by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. For more information about the wines and wineries of Michigan, contact the council online, or by phone at 517-241-4468.

Ingleside Vineyards awarded two double gold medals, 39 total medals in Taster’s Guild Wine Competition

Aug 07

(this is a summary of a press release from the Virginia Wine Marketing Office) Tasters Guild International, a Wine and Food Appreciation Society, has announced the results of its Twenty-Sixth Annual International Wine Judging held at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education in Grand Rapids. Virginia wines took home two double gold medals, four gold medals, 26 silver medals and seven bronze medals. Only 60 wines were awarded prestigious double gold medals, two of which were Virginia wines:  Ingleside 2009 Pertit Verdot and Ingleside 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

“It’s an honor to win these Double Gold awards for our Petit Verdot and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. These are two wines which really showcase the potential of Bordeaux-style reds here at Ingleside — and in Virginia in general,” said Douglas Flemer, proprietor, Ingleside Vineyards.

Thirty experienced judges from around the country completed over 2,000 evaluations of wine from ten countries and 27 states/provinces on May 1-4, 2013.

Ankida Ridge, Early Mtn. and Foggy Ridge Wineries Profiled in Sept. Food & Wine Magazine

Aug 05

The September 2013 issue of Food & Wine features a story by Steven Grubbs, an Atlanta sommelier, who with a friend drove northeast from Atlanta to tour and taste the wineries of the South (along the Blue Ridge). The most prominent winery in the story is Ankida Ridge, in Amherst County, whose pinot noir piqued Mr. Grubbs’ interest–and met his critical acclaim. He also gave favorable reports on Early Mountain Vineyards, Foggy Ridge Cidery, and the general Virginia wine scene.

Readers can find the article online at

Colorado “Best of Fest” Wine Competition Results Announced

Jul 27

Palisade, CO | For the first time in its long history, Colorado’s most prestigious local wine competition added an important element in judging criteria: Only wines that are Colorado Appellation or from one of Colorado’s AVAs (American Viticulture Areas) may be entered. Simply stated, this means wines must be made from 75 percent Colorado grapes.

In previous competitions, wines made in Colorado, regardless of grape origin, were allowed.

“Our winemakers have always been the stars of the industry and now we are elevating our amazing grape-growing industry, too,” said Cassidee Shull, executive director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE).

Using the same stringent judging standards enacted in 2012 designed to reward wines for shining in quality, not just passing minimum standards, 44 percent, or 73, of the 165 entries received medals.

The evaluation took place July 22-23 at the Wine Country Inn in Palisade. Seasoned wine professional Richard Leahy from Charlottesville, Va., served as Best of Fest Competition chair, overseeing a team of 10 judges from around the United States.

“The medal results for the Colorado Best of Fest show the quality and great diversity of fine Colorado wines today,” Leahy said. “I like that Colorado vintners are adventurous enough to make regional wines that are truly unique and that also attract a lot of customers.”

The push to include Colorado grape wines this year is part of a larger effort of CAVE to promote the growing industry alongside its winemakers. During the 22nd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest presented by First National Bank of the Rockies in September, wineries that pour and sell only Colorado wines with the 75 percent designation will be noted in the program and at various points throughout the day.

“We want the consumers to understand what Colorado grapes taste like,” Shull said. “We make great wine in Colorado. We grow great grapes in Colorado.”

View a complete list of medal winners at

Best of Fest winners:
Best of Category Red Wine
Turquoise Mesa Winery Crimson 2011

Best of Category White Wine
Plum Creek Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Best of Fest Fruit, Berry and Mead
St. Kathryn Cellars Blueberry Bliss

Best of Fest Dessert Wines
Graystone Winery Port V 2005

2013 Finger Lakes Wine Tasting Notes on my “Adventures on the Wine Road” section

Jul 25

As I did last year, I drove to the Finger Lakes and also to parts of the Hudson Valley and compiled copious tasting notes. Part One featuring the three major Finger Lakes is now visible on my “Adventures on the Wine Road” section.

NY Times Piece on VA Wine

Jul 20

On July 6, the New York Times published a detailed piece about Virginia wine, focusing on an interview with leading industry producer Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards.