Governor’s Cup Awards Ceremony Follows First-Ever Taste NY Culinary Tour in Finger Lakes
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the winners of the 2015 Governor’s Cup wine competition. At an award ceremony held today in Canandaigua, Ontario County, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul presented the 2015 Governor’s Cup to Ventosa Vineyards from Geneva, NY for their 2011 Lemberger, Estate Grown. This ceremony followed the State’s first-ever Taste NY Culinary Tour, which provided more than a dozen of the region’s leading chefs and restaurateurs with a first-hand look at the quality and diversity of New York agriculture in the region.
"New York's wine and agricultural industries are among the best in the world, and when people get a taste of what they’ve been missing, they’ll be sure to come back for more,” said Governor Cuomo. “From the prestigious New York Wine & Food Classic to the first-ever Taste NY Culinary Tour, we are showcasing all that the Empire State has to offer. I am happy to congratulate the winners of today’s Governor’s Cup, and I encourage all New Yorkers to sample some of our state’s best food and beverages. You won’t be disappointed.”
Lieutenant Governor Hochul said, "The Governor's Wine Cup Competition further illustrates Governor Cuomo's strong commitment to promoting and elevating the critically important wine industry in New York State. Today's winners represent New York's finest and further prove that our state's designation as one of the top wine regions in the world is a well-deserved honor."
The Governor’s Cup award is a large silver chalice, recognizing the Best of Show or top prize from 910 entries in the annual New York Wine & Food Classic competition, organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. In addition, Paumanok Vineyards from Long Island’s North Fork won the Winery of the Year award.
Jim Trezise, President, New York Wine & Grape Foundation said, “We congratulate the 2015 Governor's Cup and Winery of the Year winners in the New York Wine & Food Classic, known as 'The Oscars' of New York wine, and we thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his support of this event and in so many other ways. Since he first took office in 2011, we have enjoyed the best business climate for grapes and wine in the history of New York State, and that has translated into unprecedented growth and a widespread reputation for the high quality wines we make. We now have more than 400 wineries in 59 of New York's 62 counties, and generate more than $4.8 billion in annual economic benefits to New York State. This is truly a win-win partnership.”
This year's competition included 858 wines, 20 hard ciders and 32 spirits from across the State. The awards were based on blind tastings by 22 expert judges, four from California, 10 from New York, seven from other states and one from France. 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 the Best of Category and Governor's Cup awards.
The Governor also announced the following winners from the 2015 New York Wine & Food Classic competition:
The "Best of Category" awards, all eligible for the Governor's Cup, were:
- Best Sparkling Wine – Goose Watch Winery Pinot Noir Brut Rosé
- Best White Wine – Paumanok Vineyards 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling
- Best Rosé/Blush Wine – Lime Berry Winery Bunny Bunny Blush
- Best Red Wine – Ventosa Vineyards 2011 Lemberger, Estate Grown
- Best Dessert Wine – Sheldrake Point Winery 2014 Riesling Ice Wine
The "Best of Class" awards, which are given to Double Gold or Gold medal wines in classes of at least 10 wines, were:
- Best Oaked Chardonnay – McCall Wines 2013 Chardonnay Reserve
- Best Unoaked Chardonnay – Glenora Wine Cellars 2014 Chardonnay
- Best Gewürztraminer – Mazza Chautauqua Cellars 2014 Gewürztraminer
- Best Dry Riesling – Dr. Konstantin Frank 2013 Dry Riesling
- Best Medium Dry Riesling – Dr. Konstantin Frank 2013 Riesling, Semi-Dry
- Best Medium Sweet Riesling – Paumanok Vineyards 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling
- Best Sweet Riesling – Glenora Wine Cellars 2014 Riesling
- Best Overall Riesling – Paumanok Vineyards 2014 Semi-Dry Riesling
- Best Sauvignon Blanc – Martha Clara Vineyards 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Reserve
- Best Pinot Gris – Dr. Konstantin Frank 2013 Pinot Gris
- Best Other Vinifera White Varietal – Inspire Moore Winery 2014 Rhythm
- Best Vinifera White Blend – Casa Larga Vineyard 2014 Chard-Riesling
- Best Traminette – Goose Watch Winery 2014 Traminette
- Best Hybrid White Blend – Tug Hill Vineyards 43° Lat White
- Best Niagara – Americana Vineyards Crystal Lake
- Best Vinifera Rosé – Kontokosta Winery 2014 Rosé
- Best Cabernet Sauvignon – Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
- Best Merlot – Harbes Vineyard 2013 Hallock Lane Merlot
- Best Pinot Noir – Martha Clara Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir, Estate Reserve
- Best Cabernet Franc – Idol Ridge Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc
- Best Lemberger – Ventosa Vineyards 2011 Lemberger, Estate Grown
- Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal – Standing Stone Vineyards 2013 Saperavi
- Best Vinifera Red Blend – Fox Run Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Franc/Lemberger
- Best Hybrid Red Blend – Raymor Estate Cellars Sunset Red
- Best Fruit – Baldwin Vineyards Strawberry Wine
- Best Cider – Kaneb Orchards St. Lawrence Cider
- Best Spirit – Black Button Distilling Citrus Forward Gin
- Best Late Harvest – Swedish Hill Winery 2014 Late Harvest Vignoles
- Best Ice Wine – Sheldrake Point Winery 2014 Riesling Ice Wine
- Best Vinifera Sparkling White – Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2005 Brut Seduction, Methode Champenoise
First-Ever Taste NY Culinary Tour
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets led the tour, visiting four farms and processors across Yates and Ontario Counties. The tour was organized following the Farm to Table Upstate-Downstate Summit in an effort to grow business relationships between restaurateurs and local growers and producers, and highlight the many opportunities for sourcing of local foods. The four stops on the tour were Wegman’s Organic Farm (vegetable farm), Hemdale Farms (dairy farm), Climbing Bines (hops farm) and Birkett Mills (buckwheat).
The tour, which was the first of three to be held across the state, kicked off at the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua and participants visited four farms and processors across Yates and Ontario Counties. At Wegman’s Organic Farm, restaurateurs toured the 5 acre organic vegetable farm that grows approximately 25 different vegetables and herbs, including cherry tomatoes, leeks, beets, squash, dandelion greens, eggplant, cilantro, basil and parsley, for its restaurant and several Wegmans stores. The farm strives to grow the best-tasting varieties and extend growing seasons, making local farms more economically sustainable. The group also toured Hemdale Farm, which opened its milking parlor more than half a century ago and today has grown to an 11,000 cow, 21st century dairy operation. The farm uses 19 automatic, robot milking systems and produces 80,000 pounds, or more than 9,000 gallons, of milk daily.
The tour moved to Penn Yan and visited Climbing Bines Hop Farm, a 1.5 acre planting that consists of seven cultivars and nearly 1,500 hills. The farm is dedicated to growing premium New York State grown hops for the local brewing industry and beyond. At the final stop, participants visited The Birkett Mills, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of buckwheat products. The mill has over 200 years of buckwheat, soft white wheat, and custom grain milling experience. Throughout the year, finished products are shipped across the United States, Canada and Western Europe.
State Commissioner Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Today was a great celebration of our state’s thriving agricultural industry. Our growers and producers have so much to offer and continue to lead our state in award-winning products. I thank the Governor for his continued commitment to introducing our agricultural products to new audiences and growing the number of new agri-businesses across the state.”
Empire State Development President & CEO Howard Zemsky said, “New York’s booming beverage industry is a prime example of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to creating jobs and growing the state’s economy. Through culinary and wine tours, craft beverage grants and state funding, we are connecting New Yorkers to local food and beverage, encouraging entrepreneurship, and supporting small business growth statewide.”
Stency Wegman, Co-Owner of Wegmans Organic Farm said, “At Wegmans we have a passion for helping people live healthier, better lives, and our customers ask for organically, regionally-grown products. We continually work with our partner-growers to grow the best-tasting varieties and extend growing seasons, making local organic farming more sustainable. Organic, local and delicious; it doesn’t get any better than that!”
Dale Hemminger, President and Owner of Hemdale Farms said, "Hemdale Farms takes great pride in producing a quality New York product through modern farming techniques and a commitment to being good stewards of our land and livestock. I'm pleased to be a part of this tour which will help local producers, like Hemdale Farms, connect with new business opportunities."
Chris Hansen, Owner of Climbing Bines Craft Ale & Hop Farm said, “Now in our sixth growing season at Climbing Bines, I was thrilled to show our hop farm to the agricultural community. We are a true “Farm to Glass” brewery and it’s our mission to source ingredients from New York State."
Jeff Gifford, President and CEO of The Birkett Mills said, “We’re one of the oldest mills in the United States and one of the oldest, continuous operating businesses in the United States, open since 1797. It was an honor to show our friends and colleagues who are part of New York’s thriving agricultural industry how we operate at Birkett Mills.”
Two additional Culinary Tours are planned for the coming weeks. A tour will be held on Long Island later this month and in the Hudson Valley in October.
Wine Enthusiast: Insider’s Guide to New York’s Wine Country
In 2014, New York State was named “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. In March of this year, Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation accepted the award at the 15th Annual Wine Star Awards in New York City.
To build on the momentum of this recognition, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation and Wine Enthusiast Magazine produced the Insider’s Guide to New York Wine Country. Nearly 200,000 Wine Enthusiast subscribers will receive the guide by September. This project was made possible by a $250,000 Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion grant awarded to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation by Empire State Development.
Governor Cuomo launched the Craft Beverage Grant programs in 2014 to further develop the beverage industry and shine the spotlight on New York beverage producers. The Craft Beverage Grants include a $2 million Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant with funding of up to $500,000, and a $1 million Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant with funding of up to $250,000, both available by submitting a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). To learn more about the grant program, click here.
Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has worked to further develop the beverage industry, which is a major driver of job creation and economic development in communities across the State. As a result of two successful Wine, Beer, Spirits & Cider Summits, New York State has implemented groundbreaking initiatives and enacted legislation to support and grow the beverage and agriculture industry.
New York is now home to more than 850 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. The State ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, second in apple production, has the second most distilleries and is home to three of the 20 top-producing breweries in the United States. New York’s beer, wine, spirits and cider industry continues to have a tremendous impact on the state’s economy. Between manufacturing, agriculture, distribution and retail, in 2012 the industry had a combined economic impact of more than $27 billion and employs more than 85,000 people, (National Beer Wholesalers Association; New York Wine & Grape Foundation).
According to a recent study commissioned by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the full economic impact of New York grapes, grape juice and wine in 2012 was $4.8 billion for New York State.
Since 2011, the number of farm wineries has risen by nearly 60 percent from 195 to 300 today. In addition, the number of farm wineries opening branch offices, authorized by legislation signed by Governor Cuomo in 2011, has increased by 121 percent, from 29 to 64, and the number of wineries has also increased, from 52 in 2011 to 83 today, for a total 60 percent growth.