[From the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, 2/26/19]

Governor Ralph Northam awarded the 2019 Virginia Wineries Association’s (VWA) Governor’s Cup to Horton Vineyards for their 2016 Petit Manseng at the 2019 Governor’s Cup Gala.  The Gala took place Tuesday evening, February 26, at the Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia.

All wines competing in the Governor’s Cup competition must be made from 100 percent Virginia fruit. The Petit Manseng marks Horton’s first Governor’s Cup winning wine.

“It is my pleasure to award this honor to Sharon Horton and her entire winery and vineyard team, including winemakers Michael Heny and Andrew Reagan,” said Governor Northam. “Horton Vineyards is among Virginia’s true wine pioneers renowned for first growing many of the varieties that have taken hold in Virginia. In addition to the winning wine, the eleven wines included in the 2019 Governor’s Cup Case highlight the outstanding quality of wines being produced within our Commonwealth.”

Horton Vineyards’ 2016 Petit Manseng is composed of 90 percent Petit Manseng, 5 percent Viognier and 5 percent Rkatsiteli grapes. The wine is 100 percent estate-grown including their Berry Hill vineyard fruit. All fruit was hand-harvested and underwent whole cluster press. Fermentation occurred in 90 percent French oak and 10 percent stainless steel. Tasting notes state that the wine shows intensity and an explosion of flavors across the palate with a lingering acidic finish.

“This year’s case winner is especially exciting for both Horton Vineyards and the Virginia wine industry as a whole,” commented Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “It is rare for a white wine to win the Governor’s Cup and it is the first time a Petit Manseng has been the overall winner. Also significant is that three of the wines in this year’s case are made with Petit Manseng grapes. This underscores a reoccurring pattern of many outstanding wines in Virginia being produced from lesser known varietals.”

The case is comprised of the top 12 scoring wines chosen from more than 500 entries coming from 102 wineries. The esteemed panel of judges was directed by Jay Youmans – one of only 51 Masters of Wine (MW) in the U.S. The panel diligently ranked each wine according to a unified scoring system.

Alongside Horton Vineyards’ 2016 Petit Manseng, the 11 wines included in the 2019 Governor’s Cup Case are:

  • Barboursville Vineyards 2017 Vermentino Reserve
  • Early Mountain Vineyards 2016 Eluvium
  • Glen Manor Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc
  • King Family Vineyards 2016 Mountain Plains
  • King Family Vineyards 2016 Meritage
  • Paradise Springs Winery 2015 Meritage
  • Virginia Wine Works 2016 Hamlet Vineyards Eltham
  • Virginia Wine Works 2016 Michael Shaps Petit Manseng
  • Virginia Wine Works 2016 Michael Shaps Raisin d’Etre White
  • Virginia Wine Works 2015 Michael Shaps Tannat
  • Virginia Wine Works 2014 Upper Shirley Zachariah