The winners of the 34th annual New York Wine Classic, a nationally recognized competition organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation highlighting the best of New York’s wine, include many from the Finger Lakes Region. 

This year, the Governor’s Cup, the most esteemed award given at the Classic, was presented to the 2016 Cabernet Franc Six Mile Creek Vineyard from Ithaca. And the coveted “Winery of the Year” award was presented to Wagner Vineyards in Lodi. 

One of the newer Finger Lakes producers, Vineyard View Winery of Penn Yan, also surprised the field of competitors with their Best of Category win in Dessert Wines with their very first effort — a Riesling Ice Wine. Owner/Winemaker Adam Folts and his wife and partner, Nikki, are delighted with the news of their win. Adam joked, “This was my first and maybe last ice wine. I’m not sure I can top it!” Adam and Nikki added their special thanks to their friend and fellow winemaker, Catrina North, “Our go-to for outside advice and a great friend of ours for some time,” they say.

A true ice wine, the Riesling grapes were hand harvested from a Merritt Hill Road vineyard Dec. 13, 2017 when the temperature was 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Two-thirds of a ton was processed, yielding just 45 cases that were hand bottled on June 23, 2018, and of those, only 34 cases remain.

Six Mile Creek Vineyard Owner Mark Renodin said, “We here at Six Mile Creek Vineyard are very honored to have won the Governor’s Cup. When my wife Amy and I took over Six Mile Creek four years ago it was with a passion for wine and the Finger Lakes in general. For us this is an acknowledgment of our goal to produce great wine. We want to thank our winemaker, Paul King, and all of our staff that helped make this possible.”

Wagner Vineyard Owner John Wagner said, “We are extremely proud to receive the honor of Winery of the Year at this year’s New York Wine Classic. Our team has worked tirelessly to strive for excellence for 40 years now - what a way to cap off a season of celebration at Wagner Vineyards!”

The Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all entries in the New York Wine Classic. The “Winery of the Year” award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries. The Governor’s Cup and Winery of the Year winners will be presented with their awards at a special event later this summer.

Known as “The Oscars” of New York wine competitions, the New York Wine Classic is open to the more than 458 wineries across the state.  The wine competition took place over the last three days in Watkins Glen, and included 883 entries from 113 wineries from across the state. A total of 31 Double Gold, 56 Gold, 287 Silver, and 320 Bronze medals were awarded by a panel of more than 20 expert judges from around the state and globe.

Best of Category winners:

Best White Wine

Wagner Vineyards (Finger Lakes), 2017 Dry Riesling, Estate Grown

Best Red Wine

Six Mile Creek Vineyard (Finger Lakes), 2016 Cabernet Franc

Best Dessert Wine

Vineyard View Winery (Finger Lakes), 2017 Ice Wine

Best Sparkling Wine

Harbes Vineyard(Long Island), Blanc de Blancs

Best Rosé Wine

Coffee Pot Cellars (Long Island), 2018 Rosé

Specialty Wine Champion award, reserved for other fruit wines or meads

Johnson Estate Winery (Lake Erie), Passionate Peach fruit wine.

“Best of Class” awards go to Double Gold or Gold medal wines in classes of at least seven wines.

See the entire list of awards at www.newyorkwines.org 

 “The winners of the New York Wine Classic represent the very best of New York’s wineries and the innovation and high-quality production that goes into making these award-winning wines cannot be understated,” Gov. Cuomo said.  “New York is proud to support these wineries and grape growers for their accomplishments, and they are a critical component of our tourism and agricultural industries in New York. We’re excited to welcome wine lovers everywhere to New York State so that they can experience our wines for themselves.”

“New York is home to some of the best wineries, and the New York Wine Classic highlights the great beverages our local producers have to offer,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “Through the state’s investment in the industry, we are committed to ensuring that producers and wineries have the support to continue to grow and succeed.”

Samuel Filler, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, “The New York Wine Classic is one of our largest annual events honoring the best of New York Wines. We are thrilled with the turnout this year. The Classic and our annual NY Drinks NY event continue to help New York shine as a truly exciting and innovative wine region.”

Cuomo is credited with increased efforts to encourage New York’s craft beverage industry by paving the way for growth through new legislation, regulatory reform, groundbreaking initiatives, and promotional campaigns. Today, there are 458 licensed wineries across the state, including 361 farm wineries.