On Monday, December December 11, 2017, the Award Ceremony for the Governor’s Cup 2017 wine competition was held in the Old Maryland Grill restaurant in The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park. The judging was held Sunday, August 13, at the Center Club in Baltimore. The judges included more than 30 wine experts from the region who tasted over 150 different wines, including whites, rosés, sparklings, and reds. The 21 gold-medal winners were then judged for the Best-in-Show and the Best-in-Class honors.
The Maryland Wineries Association published the results of the competition on August 18th, so the College Park event was a celebration more than an announcement of winners. The wife of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Yumi Hogan, presented the awards. Al Spoler, Director of the competition, also assisted in the award presentations. Spoler has been involved in the competition for about 18 years, and is known from his work with WYPR FM radio and Maryland Public television.
The ceremony invitation was for a 10 AM start, but things didn’t get underway until about 10:45, as Maryland’s First Lady was running late. Once started, though, things moved along quickly. The actual Governor’s Cup for grape wine is a large cup with handles on a wooden base. The Jack Aellen Cup for fruit wine is about half the size. The best-in-class awards are standing, clear, engraved presentation pieces (see the photo below).
Best in Show
- Governor’s Cup Winner: Cool Ridge Vineyard • Cool Red 2015
- Jack Aellen Cup Winner: Great Shoals Winery • Hard Plum 2016
Best in Class
- Sparkling: Turkey Point Vineyard • Elk Neck Bubbly 2016
- White: Boordy Vineyards • Pinot Gris 2016
- White Blend: Cool Ridge Vineyard • Cool White 2016
- Rosé: Crow Vineyard & Winery • Barbera Rosé 2016
- Red: Big Cork Vineyard • Cabernet Franc 2015
- Red Blend: Cool Ridge Vineyard • Cool Red 2015
- Sweet: Dove Valley Winery • Mr. Bentley’s Choice 2014
- Dessert: Black Ankle Vineyards • Terra Sol 2016
- Cider: Willow Oaks • Gloaming NV
- Fruit: Great Shoals Winery • Hard Plum 2016
During the ceremony, they mentioned in passing that more than 150 wines competed for the awards. Unfortunately, during they didn’t mention there were any other winners than the top 12. I’m sure this wasn’t an intentional slight, as who would want to tick-off the rest of the winners? Just as they had a handout listing the dozen best, they could also have had handout listing the rest (or one handout listing all the winners).
There were two double-gold medal winners (best white and best fruit). To earn a double gold, the gold rating must be unanimous. Overall, there 21 gold medals, 54 silvers, and 47 bronze medals awarded. The Governor’s Cup 2017 medalists from Southern Maryland are listed below — they pulled in 15 medals altogether! To see all results of the competition, please click here.
Southern Maryland winners
- Port of Leonardtown Winery: Chambourcin Reserve, 2014
- Port of Leonardtown Winery (3): Chambourcin, 2015; Red Lot 15, 2014; and Vintner’s Select White, 2016
- Great Frogs Winery (4): Chardonnay Reserve, 2016; Chesapeake Rosé, 2016; Chesapeake White, 2016; and Powatinika, 2015
- Port of Leonardtown Winery (3): Barbera Reserve, 2014; Old Line Red, 2014; and The PORT of Leonardtown, 2013
- Romano Vineyard & Winery (2): Chambourcin, 2016; and Traminette, 2016
- Thanksgiving Farm (2): Meritage, 2013; and Reserve Meritage, 2013
Governor's Cup 2017 tastings
After the ceremony, the crowd moved to the room next door to snack and taste prize-winning wine. Old Maryland Grill put out some dishes from their Maryland-centric menu for folks to enjoy, including pinwheels of St. Mary’s County stuffed ham, and cod-fish cakes, or “coddies” as they’re known in Baltimore.
The restaurant also features Maryland beers, wines, and spirits. Old Maryland Grill has been open just a few months. It is the latest venture of Mike Franklin, long-time proprietor of Hyattsville’s Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, & General Store. ♦