In the Finger Lakes, we are always excited when August rolls around because that means the New York Wine & Food Classic is upon us! And who doesn’t love a good wine competition? Especially when it features the very best wine from every region in the state of New York.
The New York Wine & Food Classic competition is held in Watkins Glen, NY by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Producers showcase their best wine, spirits, and ciders in the hopes of winning Bronze Medals, Silver Medals, Gold Medals, and Double Gold Medals. Additionally, there are several Best in Class Awards bestowed to the cream of the crop in several categories including specific varietals (Best Chardonnay, Best Cabernet Franc, etc), blends, spirits, and many more. The crowning achievement of the competition is the coveted Governor’s Cup, which is essentially Best in Show, awarded to the overall best wine. Winning any of these awards is a major boon for a producer, but taking home the Governor’s Cup itself can do even more for a winery.
The top prize carries a lot of weight behind it. So much in fact, the competition itself is colloquially referred to as “the Governor’s Cup”. When a relatively obscure winery wins the competition, it experiences immediate benefits. Notably, the winery attains instant fame, and demand for their winning varietal skyrockets. The winemakers themselves benefit from the prestige of the award, gaining reputation as masters of their craft capable of producing wine of the highest quality.
More established wineries and past winners also benefit from taking home the Governor’s Cup. Winning solidifies their reputations as top notch producers of exalted vintages year after year, as is the case with multi-year Governor’s Cup winner Chateau Lafayette Reneau. The bottom line: Everyone has a stake in winning the award.
Leaders in the industry such as wine educators, sommeliers, wine writers, retailers, and wine buyers are among the judges in the New York Wine & Food Classic. One such judge is Ryan’s Wine & Spirits own General Manager and Wine Buyer, Stephanie Rudat. Renown in the industry for her impeccable palate and general enthusiasm for promoting New York State wines, spirits, and ciders, it’s no wonder 2016 marks her fourth year judging the competition.
Judging begins Tuesday, August 9th and concludes on Wednesday, August 10th. Check back next week for information on winners and availability of their products. I know we’re excited for the results. May the best wine win!