Congratulations to Billsboro Winery and Keuka Spring Vineyards for top showing at this week's New York Wine & Food Classic.
Billsboro Winery 2013 Syrah from the Finger Lakes Region won the coveted "Governor's Cup" trophy as the best wine of the competition, with a very strong vote among all judges during the final "Sweepstakes" round.
When the Classic began some 30 years ago, it was totally inconceivable that a dry red Syrah from the Finger Lakes region would take top honors, but here it is.
The "Winery of the Year" award went to Keuka Spring Vineyards, also from the Finger Lakes region, for the best overall showing in terms of the number and types of medals for various wines entered.
Keuka Spring is a past Governor's Cup winner whose wines have also won top awards at major international and national competitions, including twice for Best White Wine (once for a Riesling, once for a Gewurztraminer) at the San Francisco Chronicle Competition, the largest in the country..
This year's competition included 893 New York wines, 20 Hard Ciders and 38 Craft Spirits from several regions across New York state including Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment and Lake Erie.
The Billsboro Winery 2013 Syrah was also voted Best Red Wine and Best Syrah on its way to the ultimate award. Keuka Spring Vineyards won Best White Wine and Best Overall Riesling on its way to the Winery of the Year award, along with several Best of Class awards and other top medals.
Other "Best of Category" grape wines in the final "Sweepstakes" round were:
Sparkling Wine: Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2013 Brut, from Long Island
White Wine: Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Gewurztraminer, from the Finger Lakes
Blush or Rose Wine: 21 Brix Winery Ellatawba, from Lake Erie
Dessert Wine: Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2015 Descencia Botrytis Riesling/Chardonnay, from Long Island
There are other special categories as well:
A "Specialty Wine Champion" award recognizes consistent quality among the increasing number of wines made from fruits other than grapes, or honey. The 2016 winner was Coyote Moon Vineyards Razzle Dazzle.
A "Best Limited Production Wine" award, for wines produced with fewer than 100 cases, went to Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture & Wine Tech Corp 2015 Gather, Dry Riesling.
There are also awards for Best Spirit and Best Cider. The Best Spirit honor went to Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Bourbon Whisky while the Best Cider was Brooklyn Cider House Half Sour.
The awards were based on blind tastings by 22 expert judges-5 from California, 9 from New York, 7 from other states, and 1 from London. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators. Judging panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 22 judges for Best of Category and Governor's Cup awards.
Celebrating its 31st year, the Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, with support from NYWGF colleagues Susan Spence, Dana Alexander, Jenn Cooper, and Kim Hughes, and a great crew of volunteers.
The Classic is open to all 406 New York wineries from all regions. In 2016, a total of 71 Double Gold, 106 Gold, 386 Silver, and 250 Bronze medals were awarded. In addition, "Best of Category" and "Best of Class" designations were awarded to wines rated as the finest in various areas. Double Gold medals require unanimity among a panel's judges that a wine deserves a Gold medal, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote.
Best of Class awards go to Double Gold or Gold medal wines in classes of at least 7 wines. The "Best of Class" awards went to:
Best Oaked Chardonnay
Whitecliff Vineyard 2014 Reserve Chardonnay (Hudson River Region)
Best Unoaked Chardonnay
Lieb Cellars 2015 Bridge Lane Chardonnay (North Fork of Long Island)
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Gewürztraminer (Finger Lakes)
Best Dry Riesling
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Humphreys Vineyard Riesling, Single Vineyard Series (Finger Lakes)
Best Medium Dry Riesling
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2015 Riesling, Semi-Dry (Finger Lakes)
Best Medium Sweet Riesling
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Semi Sweet Riesling (Finger Lakes)
Best Sweet Riesling
Wagner Vineyards 2013 Riesling Select, Estate Grown & Bottled (Finger Lakes)
Best Overall Riesling
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Semi Sweet Riesling (Finger Lakes)
Best Pinot Grigio
Duck Walk Vineyards 2015 Pinot Grigio (Long Island)
Best Other Vinifera White Varietal
Palmer Vineyards 2015 Albarino (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Vinifera White Blend
Bedell Cellars 2015 Taste White (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Vinifera/Hybrid White Blend
Keuka Spring Vineyards Celebrate (Finger Lakes)
Swedish Hill Winery 2015 Cayuga White (Finger Lakes)
Benmarl Winery 2015 Seyval Blanc (Hudson River Region)
Seneca Shore Wine Cellars Traminette, Estate Bottled, DeMarco Vineyards (Finger Lakes)
J.R. Dill Winery 2015 Vidal Blanc (Finger Lakes)
Best Cold Climate White Varietal
Coyote Moon Vineyards Brianna (Thousand Islands)
Best Hybrid White
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyard White Stag (Finger Lakes)
Americana Vineyards Crystal Lake (Finger Lakes)
21 Brix Winery Ellatawba (Lake Erie)
Best Native Varietal
Coyote Moon Vineyards Fire Boat Red (Thousand Islands)
Best Vinifera Rosé
Wagner Vineyards 2015 Rosé of Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes)
Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (North Fork of Long Island)
Clovis Point Vineyard & Winery 2013 Vintner's Select Merlot (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Pinot Noir
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Cabernet Franc
Kontokosta Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal
Influence Wines 2015 Malbec (North Fork of Long Island)
Billsboro Winery 2013 Syrah (Finger Lakes)
Best Vinifera Red Blend
Harbes Vineyard 2014 Red Blend, Proprietor's Reserve (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Cold Climate Red Varietal
Tug Hill Vineyards White Out, Estate (Thousand Islands)
Best Fruit Wine
Coyote Moon Vineyards Razzle Dazzle (Thousand Islands)
Brooklyn Cider House Half Sour
Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Bourbon Whisky
Goose Watch Winery 2015 Finale White Port (Finger Lakes)
Best Late Harvest
Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2015 Descencia Botrytis Riesling/Chardonnay (Long Island)
Best Ice Wine
Sheldrake Point Winery 2014 Riesling Ice Wine, Wild Ferment, Estate Bottled (Finger Lakes)
Best Vinifera Sparkling White
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2013 Brut, Methode Champenoise (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Vinifera Sparkling Pink
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2013 Topaz Imperial, Methode Champenoise (North Fork of Long Island)
Best Hybrid Sparkling White
Swedish Hill Winery Blanc de Blancs (Finger Lakes)
Best Native Sparkling Wine
Lakewood Sparkling Catawba (Finger Lakes)