Governor Cuomo Congratulates Winners
of the 2018 New York Wine Classic

33rd Annual Competition Spotlights World-Class New York Wines and Ciders

ALBANY, NY – August 8, 2018 —Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the winners of the 33rd New York Wine Classic, a nationally recognized competition highlighting the best of New York’s wine and ciders. This year, the Governor’s Cup, the most esteemed award given at the Classic, was presented to Keuka Spring Vineyards, 2017 Gewürztraminer from the Finger Lakes region. The first ever Governor’s Cider Cup was awarded to Kite & String’s “Pioneer Pippin” cider. In addition, Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery from the Finger Lakes region was presented with the ‘Winery of the Year’ award. The Governor’s announcement of the Governor’s Cup coincides with a current USA Today poll that has the Finger Lakes leading as the best wine region in the country.

“New York’s world-renowned wineries and cideries are second to none and help drive tourism, strengthen local economies and create jobs across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “The annual New York Wine Classic celebrates and recognizes the best of the best of our craft beverage industry, and I congratulate the winners and encourage those interested to try these world-class products for themselves.”

“New York is home to some of the best wineries and cideries, and this competition highlights the many craft beverages our local producers have to offer,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Through the state’s investment in the craft beverage industry, we’re ensuring that producers have the support to continue to grow and succeed.”

Known as “The Oscars” of New York wine competitions, the Classic is organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and is open to the more than 440 New York wineries across the state. This year’s competition included 924 individual entries: 853 New York wines and 71 hard ciders from across the State. 

Samuel Filler, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said,

“We are excited to unveil the results of the 2018 New York Wine Classic. This year’s competition welcomed a new name, new logo, an impressive array of expert judges from across the country, as well 924 official entries. The anticipation surrounding our list of winners is palpable, as wineries and consumers know that a top award at the ‘Classic’ means quickly selling out of that wine. The New York Wine & Grape Foundation will embark on a year-long promotion of the winners, the very best that New York has to offer, at special events across the state and the country. Special classes featuring these wines will be held at the Great New York State Fair starting on August 22nd, 2018 in Syracuse.”

Jenn Smith, Executive Director of the New York Cider Association, said, “With an historic orcharding tradition, favorable soil, climate and weather patterns for growing apples, and our community of craft beverage experts, it is no wonder that New York cider is recognized for its premium quality. We’re grateful to the New York Wine Classic for working with us to include categories reflecting the diversity of cider being made in New York and communicating the shared language of the national cider industry, thereby helping us shine a light on the excellence of New York cider.”

Keuka Spring Vineyards Owner Len Wiltberger said, “We are absolutely thrilled and honored to receive this award. At Keuka Spring, we have always believed in Gewurztraminer as a premier grape for this region. It is perfectly adapted to this climate and makes a style of wine that is truly unique to the Finger Lakes. That’s why we make three different Gewurztraminers, one being a regional blend and two that showcase vineyard sites that demonstrate special qualities. Gewurztraminer is a big part of what we do and who we are, and we hope this award shines a light on the fact that it needs to be central to the discussion of what New York does best.”

Melissa Madden, co-owner of Kite & String Cider, said, “Good cider starts with good fruit, and ours is made from unique apples grown in Finger Lakes orchards and on our own Good Life Farm. We’re very proud to win the Governor’s Cider Cup, and energized by the potential that organic, biodiverse orcharding provides New York cider.”

Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery President Fred Frank said, “We’re very excited to receive the Winery of the Year award from the New York Wine Classic. We feel it’s a testament to the team here at Dr. Konstantin Frank and the great range of quality wines we produce. It’s a wonderful honor!”

A total of 40 Double Gold, 49 Gold, 324 Silver, and 334 Bronze medals were awarded.

New this year, in addition to the highest award presented, the Governor’s Cider Cup, there were three categories for cider judging this year: Best Modern Cider, Best Specialty Cider, and Best Heritage Cider. Angry Orchard’s “Baldwin SVC 2015” won Best Modern Cider; Three Brothers Wineries & Estates “Cane Mutiny, Red Apple Bombshell” won Best Specialty Cider; and Kite & String’s “Pioneer Pippin” was awarded Best Heritage Cider on the way to ultimately winning the 2018 Governor’s Cider Cup.

The Governor also announced the following “Best of Category” and “Best of Class” winners for wine.

“Best of Category” winners:

Best Sparkling Wine
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery, 2008 Brut Seduction Méthode Champenoise

Best White Wine
Keuka Spring Vineyards, 2017 Gewürztraminer

Best Pink Wine
Sheldrake Point, 2017 Dry Rosé

Best Red Wine
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, 2016 Blaüfrankisch

Best Dessert Wine
Brotherhood Winery, 2017 Late Harvest Riesling

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

Best Oaked Chardonnay
Macari Vineyards, 2015 Chardonnay Reserve

Best Unoaked Chardonnay
Osmote Wines, 2017 Cayuga Lake Chardonnay

Best Overall Chardonnay
Osmote Wines, 2017 Cayuga Lake Chardonnay

Best Gewürztraminer
Keuka Spring Vineyards, 2017 Gewürztraminer

Best Dry Riesling
Heron Hill Winery, 2016 Riesling Reserve

Best Medium Dry Riesling
Hosmer Winery, 2016 Limited Release Riesling

Best Medium Sweet Riesling
Boundary Breaks, 2017 Riesling Reserve #198

Best Sweet Riesling
Fox Run Vineyards, 2016 Lot 11 Lake Dana Riesling

Best Overall Riesling
Hosmer Winery, 2016 Limited Release Riesling

Best Pinot Gris
Lakewood Vineyards, 2017 Pinot Gris

Best Grüner Veltliner
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, 2014 Grüner Veltliner

Best Vinifera White Blend
Atwater Estate Vineyards, 2016 Riewurz

Best Traminette
Thirsty Owl Wine Company, 2016 Traminette

Best Rosé
Sheldrake Point Winery, 2017 Dry Rosé

Best Blush
Owera Vineyards, 2017 Cazenovia Blush

Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Brotherhood Winery, 2015 New York Icon Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard

Best Merlot
Brotherhood Winery, 2014 New York Icon Merlot, Single Vineyard

Best Pinot Noir
Winery of Ellicottville, 2016 Pinot Noir

Best Cabernet Franc
Heron Hill Winery, 2016 Classic Cabernet Franc

Best Lemberger/Blaufrankisch
Dr. Konstantin Frank, 2016 Blaufrankisch

Best Syrah
Harbes Vineyard, 2014 Syrah

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

Best Hybrid Red Varietal
Vineyard View Winery, 2016 Marquette

Best Late Harvest
Brotherhood Winery, 2017 Late Harvest Riesling

Best Ice Wine
Hunt Country Vineyards, 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

Best Vinifera Sparkling White
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery, 2008 Brut Seduction Méthode Champenoise

New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The New York Wine Classic is an awesome opportunity for us to raise a glass not only to our wineries and cideries that are among the best in the world, but also to our agricultural community that grows the top-notch products used to create these unique varietals. I congratulate all of the winners for their innovation and dedication to quality and thank Governor Cuomo for his continued support of our craft beverage producers.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Our wineries and cideries are big business for New York State, supporting jobs, encouraging tourism and utilizing produce grown by our farmers. The New York Wine Classic allows us to showcase the finest that our state has to offer, and I congratulate all of this year’s winners.”

New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, “New York State wineries and cideries continue to gain national recognition by producing some of the best wines and ciders in the world. The annual New York Wine Classic is great way to celebrate how far this burgeoning industry has come and the enormous impact it’s having on our state’s economy.”

In addition to receiving medals, the winners of the Governor’s Cup, Winery of the Year, Concord Brandy, Best Red, Best White, Best Pink, Best Sparkling, and Best Dessert categories will be provided with a package of marketing collateral intended to help promote their wines throughout the year.

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation will also feature the winners of the Governor’s Cup and Winery of the Year wine categories at a wide range of events throughout the year, including the Great New York State Fair’s Tasting Seminars, a VIP dinner at the NY Kitchen, domestic and international tradeshows and other receptions. 

Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has led the effort to modernize New York’s craft beverage industry and pave the way for unprecedented growth through new legislation, regulatory reforms, groundbreaking initiatives and promotional campaigns. Today, there are 440 licensed wineries and 66 licensed cideries across the State, including 350 farm wineries and 41 farm cideries. Additionally, 85 farm wineries and eight farm cideries have opened off-site tasting room throughout the state.