And the Award Goes Too …

And the Award Goes Too …

Last week, the red carpet was rolled out. People came adorned in flash and shine, draped in bobble and bangles, to see and be seen. Glamour and glitz were laid out for all to enjoy and adore. Glasses were clinking and awards shimmering. Eager expectations hovered over all the crowd in anticipation of the awards about to be announced. No, all the glimmery lingo was not in reference to the Oscars, although that did happen. Since this is a blog centered around all things wine, and not movies, the big night of mention involves wine awards.

While viewing the Oscars, People’s Choice, Emmys, Grammys, or any other awards ceremonies, how much does that drive your opinion or desire to want to experience a show, individual or performance? If a movie, song, or performance achieves a high-level award or rating, does that drive your desire or push the envelope (see what was done there?) to a must see/hear for you? What about awards on wines? If a certain wine receives a gold medal or a high rating does that equally drive your appeal? Just prior to the Oscars being awarded, another event of equal importance to many in the (Virginia) wine world, ensued. The Virginia Governor’s Cup was awarded last week. Are you going to seek out a Gold medal winner?

Prior to the big event, wineries submit wines; they hope to win the highest award, that being the Cup, but in the least are hoping for a gold medal. Upon Receiving a Gold medal, that puts them in the running to be a part of the “Governor’s Case”; just as a case of wine, the number of wineries selected for the “case” are the twelve wines that received the highest ratings. Out of those twelve wines, a cup is presented for the highest-scoring wine, overall. As part of the competition, ciders have now also been included.  This year, over 750 wines and ciders were submitted and judged. The judges were a mixture of expert and scholar-trained judges, as well as knowledgeable wine critics, writers, and winemakers. The Case winners were, in alphabetical order, Afton Mountain Vineyards 2019 T, Barboursville Vineyards 2019 Paxxito, Bluestone Vineyard 2017 Petit Verdot, Breaux Vineyards 2019 The Fog Nebbiolo Reserve, Cave Ridge Vineyard and Winery 2019 Fossil Hill Reserve, CrossKeys Vineyards NV Blanc De Noir, Hark Vineyards 2019 Spark, King Family Vineyards 2019 Meritage, Michael Shaps Wineworks 2020 L.Scott, Mountain & Vine Vineyards and Winery 2022 Chardonnay, October One Vineyard 2022 Albariño and Paradise Springs Winery  Virginia 2022 Petit Manseng.  …and the cup went to… King Family Vineyards with their 2019 Meritage! It is worth noting that this is the fourth year the King Family has enjoyed holding the cup for their Meritage, and the third with winemaker Mathieu Finot. Knowing these wineries can now adorn their bottles with shiny bling, does that make them more attractive?

The list above includes 12 of the highest-scoring wines submitted. There were over a hundred other silver and bronze medals handed out. Is this list indicative of the quality of the wine or its level of appeal? Perhaps, however, it must also be mentioned that there are many wineries that are of equal quality that do not submit their wines, for varying reasons, one of which being that some of the criteria for entry is difficult for some smaller wineries to adhere too. There are some that say this is all about marketing. There is the attraction for wineries to submit entries in hopes of winning something to dress bottles and price tags with, but it is also about validation from their peers, and who can blame them for using the medals as a marketing effort? If anything, it may drive people to seek out those getting the attention, to “see what all the hype is about,’ and to be able to acclaim rights to announcing their experience of it.

There are many wine competitions that carry some clout. Along with the Virginia Governors Cup, there is also the Maryland Governors Cup and the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association competition. All these competitions are highlighting homegrown wineries from the East coast. While each of these competitions might not accurately tell us who is “the best of the best” quality wise, at the least, it brings attention to our area and the fact that there is quality wine receiving attention on the east coast. With enough noise, pomp, and circumstance, it might drive more people to try a different region, winery or wine when looking for a worthy bottle.

Will a medal sway your wine-buying decisions? It is not advisable, for the same reason it would not be suggested to go see a movie, “just because it got an award,” and may not fit your style or liking; however, it may drive enough curiosity to try something you may not have before, or visit a winery new to you.  Does it mean your palate is not good, if you do not care for an award-winning wine? No, in fact, the best rule of thumb is to drink what you like! A medal means nothing if the product is not satisfying.  Another rule is wine is subjective.  The award-winning wines received that award from a panel of random people chosen for a particular competition. That same wine presented to a completely different panel may not be rated as high. The biggest take away is not to let an award, or lack thereof, sway your decision to buy or not to. Rather, take it as a bright flag waving to seek your attention that someone thought it worthy of consideration.



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