Judging and the awards ceremony were held today for the wine competition at the 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. This year’s wine competition attracted 237 entries from 35 wineries located throughout the State. The awards ceremony itself was sparsely attended and I was disappointed to find that many of the winners were not there to accept their awards.
Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff, kicked off the ceremony by commenting on how the wine industry is among the only Pennsylvania agricultural industries that continue to grow in size. Mr. Wolff, PA Farm Show Executive Director Patrick Kerwin and PA Wine Association Executive Director Jen Eckinger handed out a total of 166 awards including eight “best of” awards and 16 gold medals.
The Best of Show and Best Hybrid went to the 2007 Chambourcin from Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Kutztown. Owner Brad Knapp accepted his third Best of Show award in the seven year history of the competition. Pinnacle Ridge was also the winner of the Best Sparkling Wine for their Curvee Chardonnay and a gold medal for their 2005 Veritas.
The Best Fruit Wine competition ended in a tie between Sorrenti’s Cherry Valley Vineyards in Saylorsburg and Heritage Wine Cellars in North East (yes that’s the name of the town). Mary Sorrenti accepted the trophy for Cherry Valley which won for their Elderberry wine and Matt Bostwick was on hand to accept for Heritage Wine Cellars’ Blueberry Spumante. Heritage Wine Cellars also won a gold medal for their 2007 Peach Fuzz.
The Antler Ridge Winery in Rome, PA won in the Best American and Best Dessert categories for their Red Vixen. Several members of the Unis family were on hand for the presentation. Antler Ridge also collected a gold medal for their 2007 Diamond.
Shade Mountain Vineyards and Winery in Middleburg was the Best Vinifera winner for their 2006 Lemberger. Unfortunately, nobody from Shade Mountain was on hand to accept the award.
Gold medal winners were: Vynecrest Winery (2007 First Blush), Benignas Creek Vineyard and Winery (2007 Traminette and 2007 Benignas Tears), Pickering Winery (2007 Vignoles), West Hanover Winery (Sour Cherry), Clover Hill Vineyards (Vignoles, Concord and 2006 Merlot), Winfield Winery (2007 Concord), Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate (2007 Seyval Blanc and 2007 Vignoles) and Greendance the Winery at Sand Hill (2007 Black Currant and 2007 Red Raspberry. Of the gold medal winners, only West Hanover Winery and Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate were represented at the ceremony.
I’ve visited many of the award winning wineries and will try and get to the rest of them this year. I will, however, set my priority list to visit those wineries who had representatives at The Farm Show to accept their awards today.