August 10, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Congratulates Winners of the 2016 Governor's Cup Wine Competition

TOP Governor Cuomo Congratulates Winners of the...

Contest Highlights World-Class Wine, Spirits and Ciders in New York State

Complements State’s Actions to Modernize Craft Beverage Industry


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the winners of the 2016 Governor’s Cup competition at the 31st New York Wine & Food Classic, held August 9 and 10 in Watkins Glen, NY. This year, the coveted Governor’s Cup trophy, the most esteemed award given at the Classic, was presented to Billsboro Winery from the Finger Lakes Region for their 2013 Syrah wine. In addition, the “Winery of the Year” award went to Keuka Springs Vineyards, also from the Finger Lakes. Known as “The Oscars” of New York wine competitions, the Classic highlights the finest wines, ciders and craft spirits produced in the Empire State. The announcement comes on the heels of the state’s recent actions to modernize New York’s archaic Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.

"From Long Island to the Finger Lakes, New York vineyards continue to produce some of this nation's finest wine," Governor Cuomo said. "Over the past six years, this administration has worked tirelessly to support this industry and help it thrive the way we all knew it could. Given all the products being showcased today, these efforts are clearly paying off. I want to congratulate all the Governor's Cup winners and encourage all New Yorkers to think local when buying their next bottle."

The Classic is organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and is open to the more than 400 New York wineries across the state. This year’s competition included 951 individual entries: 893 New York wines, 20 hard ciders and 38 craft spirits from several regions, including Long Island, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, and Western New York.

President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation Jim Trezise said, “The New York Wine & Food Classic is recognized nationally for the quality of the judges, superb organization, and promotional value. We applaud the winners in a very competitive event, as well as the strong support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration for the New York wine industry.”

New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Agriculture is the foundation of a strong craft beverage industry and here in New York, we have world-class producers and growers. The quality of their products, coupled with Governor Cuomo’s leadership and strong commitment to growing the industry, has allowed our craft beverage producers to realize continued success. I look forward to supporting their future accomplishments.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Governor’s Cup Wine Competition and thanks to all of the participants for supporting New York’s growing craft beverage industry. From 2010 through 2015, beverage manufacturing employment at wineries increased 30 percent, and we look forward to continuing this trend as we support the growth of this industry and continue to build awareness of the world-renowned wine, beer, spirits and cider the Empire State has to offer.”

New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, “By working hand in hand with the industry, Governor Cuomo has created a climate where New York’s wine industry has experienced tremendous growth both in quality and quantity. I congratulate all of today’s winners, who in addition to manufacturing world class wines, are producing an enormous impact on New York’s economy.”

The entries are awarded based on blind tastings by 22 expert judges­­ from across the country, as well as one judge from London. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators. Judging panels determined the initial awards and top-scoring wines were then evaluated by all 22 judges for the Best of Category awards and the Governor's Cup.

This year, a total of 71 Double Gold, 106 Gold, 386 Silver, and 250 Bronze medals were awarded. Double Gold medals require unanimity among the judging panel, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote.

The Governor also announced the following winners from the 2016 New York Wine & Food Classic competition:

The ‘Best of Category’ Winners:

Best Sparkling Wine-
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2013 Brut, Methode Champenoise

Best White Wine-
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Gewürztraminer

Best Blush or Rosé Wine-
21 Brix Winery Ellatawba

Best Red Wine-
Billsboro Winery 2013 Syrah

Best Dessert Wine-
Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2015 Descencia Botrytis Riesling/Chardonnay

The ‘Best of Class’ Winners:

These awards are given to Double Gold or Gold medal wines in classes of at least 10 wines.

Best Oaked Chardonnay-
Whitecliff Vineyard 2014 Reserve Chardonnay

Best Unoaked Chardonnay-
Lieb Cellars 2015 Bridge Lane Chardonnay

Best Gewürztraminer-
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Gewürztraminer

Best Dry Riesling-
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Humphreys Vineyard Riesling, Single Vineyard Series

Best Medium Dry Riesling-
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2015 Riesling, Semi-Dry

Best Medium Sweet Riesling-
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Semi Sweet Riesling

Best Sweet Riesling-
Wagner Vineyards 2013 Riesling Select, Estate Grown & Bottled

Best Overall Riesling-
Keuka Spring Vineyards 2015 Semi Sweet Riesling

Best Pinot Grigio-
Duck Walk Vineyards 2015 Pinot Grigio

Best Other Vinifera White Varietal-
Palmer Vineyards 2015 Albariῆo

Best Vinifera White Blend-
Bedell Cellars 2015 Taste White

Best Vinifera/Hybrid White Blend-
Keuka Spring Vineyards Celebrate

Best Cayuga-
Swedish Hill Winery 2015 Cayuga White

Best Seyval-
Benmarl Winery 2015 Seyval Blanc

Best Traminette-
Seneca Shore Wine Cellars Traminette, Estate Bottled, DeMarco Vineyards

Best Vidal-
J.R. Dill Winery 2015 Vidal Blanc

Best Cold Climate White Varietal-
Coyote Moon Vineyards Brianna

Best Hybrid White-
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyard White Stag

Best Niagara-
Americana Vineyards Crystal Lake

Best Catawba-
21 Brix Winery Ellatawba

Best Native Varietal-
Coyote Moon Vineyards Fire Boat Red

Best Vinifera Rosé-
Wagner Vineyards 2015 Rosé of Cabernet Franc

Best Cabernet Sauvignon-
Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Best Merlot-
Clovis Point Vineyard & Winery 2013 Vintner’s Select Merlot

Best Pinot Noir-
Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir

Best Cabernet Franc-
Kontokosta Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc

Best Other Red Vinifera Varietal-
Influence Wines 2015 Malbec

Best Syrah-
Billsboro Winery 2013 Syrah

Best Vinifera Red Blend-
Harbes Vineyard 2014 Red Blend, Proprietor’s Reserve

Best Cold Climate Red Varietal-
Tug Hill Vineyards White Out, Estate

Best Fruit Wine-
Coyote Moon Vineyards Razzle Dazzle

Best Cider-
Brooklyn Cider House Half Sour

Best Spirit-
Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Bourbon Whisky

Best Port-
Goose Watch Winery 2015 Finale White Port

Best Late Harvest-
Wolffer Estate Vineyard 2015 Descencia Botrytis Riesling/Chardonnay

Best Ice Wine-
Sheldrake Point Winery 2014 Riesling Ice Wine, Wild Ferment, Estate Bottled

Best Vinifera Sparkling White-
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2013 Brut, Methode Champenoise

Best Vinifera Sparkling Pink-
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery 2013 Topaz Imperial, Methode Champenoise

Best Hybrid Sparkling White-
Swedish Hill Winery Blanc de Blancs

A Specialty Wine Champion award, recognizing consistent quality among the increasing number of wines made from fruits other than grapes, or honey, was also given out. It was presented to 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. Complete results of the 2016 Classic can be found here.

Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has worked to expand the beverage industry, which is a major driver of job creation and economic development in communities across the State. As a result of three successful Wine, Beer, Spirits & Cider Summits, New York State has implemented groundbreaking initiatives, implemented a multitude of regulatory reforms, and enacted legislation to support and grow the beverage and agriculture industry.

This year, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced an agreement to modernize New York State’s 80-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, which allows for alcohol to be sold earlier on Sundays, streamlines licensing, authorizes wineries to sell wine in refillable growlers and also includes common sense provisions to increase sales.

The agreement builds on the progress made by the Governor over the past five years, including enacting the Craft New York Act in 2014, to cut burdensome requirements on producers and ease restrictions on the marketing of craft products. Since 2011, the State has also created two new farm-based manufacturing licenses, launched a $60 million statewide promotional campaign, and expanded the Alcohol Production Credit, which is expected to save wineries, distilleries and cideries $4 million over the next two years.

New York is now home to over 900 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. Since 2011, the number of farm wineries in New York has increased by over 60 percent, from 195 in 2010 to 315 today. In addition, the number of farm wineries opening branch offices has increased by 131 percent, from 29 to 67, and the farm cidery license created in 2014, has resulted in 22 new farm cideries in New York State.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office