Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the top winners of the 36th annual New York Wine Classic, a nationally recognized competition highlighting the best of New York’s wine. Governor Hochul made the announcement this evening during a special live virtual event hosted by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. This year, the Governor’s Cup was presented to two wineries in a surprise tie for the competition’s most esteemed award. The Governor’s Cup recognizes the “Best of Show” in the New York Wine Classic and was presented to Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ Solera Sherry from the Finger Lakes region and Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s 2020 Diosa Late-Harvest from Long Island. In addition, Weis Vineyards from the Finger Lakes was presented with the “Winery of the Year” award. This award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.
“The New York Wine Classic celebrates the very best of New York’s wine and grape industries, and this year’s winners are stellar examples of the high-quality wine we’ve come to know and love in our State. I congratulate Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, and Weis Vineyards on receiving these prestigious awards.” said Governor Hochul. “The wine industry is an essential part of New York’s agricultural economy and I’m proud to work hard in support of the continued innovation, growth, and success of our wineries and farmers.
Organized annually by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF), the New York Wine Classic celebrates a diverse selection of world-class wines from producers within the State. For the second year, NYWGF has partnered with the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) to judge wines submitted. Scores were awarded by BTI’s trained sensory panel comprised of beverage directors, sommeliers, top bartenders, retail buyers, and educators.
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.
In addition to winning the Governor’s Cup, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards also received a Platinum medal and tied for Best Dessert Wine for their Solera Sherry. Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, located in Hector, New York, was established in 1985 by the late Jerry Hazlitt and his wife Elaine. The family has been growing grapes and orchard fruits for a living since 1852. The winery and vineyards are now managed by sixth generation family members Doug Hazlitt and Leigh (Hazlitt) Triner.
In addition to winning the Governor’s Cup, Wölffer Estate Vineyard also took home a Platinum medal and tied for Best Dessert Wine with their 2020 Diosa Late-Harvest. Wölffer Estate Vineyard, located in Sagaponack, New York, has been known as one of the finest producers on the East Coast and a center for innovation and hospitality for over 30 years. Founded in 1988 by Christian Wölffer, the estate is currently owned and operated by his children, Marc and Joey Wölffer, and Winemaker/Partner Roman Roth.
In addition to Winery of the Year, Weis Vineyards, located in Hammondsport, New York, also took home a Platinum medal and Best Pink Wine award for their 2021 Dry Rosé, along with the Best White Wine award for their 2020 Winzer Select Riesling A which received a Gold medal. They also took home Gold medals for their 2019 Merlot, 2021 Zweigelt Dry Rosé, 2017 Riesling Ice Wine, 2019 Riesling Ice Wine, 2020 Semi Dry Riesling, and their 2020 Dry Riesling. Wine Winemaker Hans Peter Weis, owner of Weis Vineyards, was born in Zell Mosel, Germany and grew up in the vineyards and cellar of his family winery. It is there that he gained his passion for wine. In the spring of 2016 he and his wife Ashlee, a native of the Finger Lakes, decided they would begin this adventure together and open Weis Vineyards. He found the Finger Lakes to be the perfect place to pursue his passion of handcrafting traditional German-style wines for all to enjoy.
Samuel Filler, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation said, “We wish to extend our congratulations to all the winners, and recognize the two historic and important wineries that tied for the Governor’s Cup trophy this year. They, along with the Winery of the Year, Weis Vineyards, are perfect examples of the breadth and depth of quality wines New York can produce. From Long Island to the Finger Lakes, from dry wines to dessert wines, New York truly does have something for every wine enthusiast. What an adventure it would be to plan a visit to each of these winners this summer and fall.”
Leigh Hazlitt-Triner, Co-CEO of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards said, “We are honored to receive the coveted Governor’s Cup. This award is a testament to our talented and hardworking winemaking & vineyard teams; we couldn’t be more proud.”
Roman Roth, Winemaker & Partner of Wölffer Estate Vineyard said, “The forward-thinking actions of the New York Governors office have been instrumental in the success and progression of the New York Wine Industry. To receive the Governor’s cup at the New York Wine Classic is a huge milestone for a winery and a fantastic achievement. This award is for the owners Joey and Marc Wölffer, for our CEO Max Rohn, for the best Vineyard manager Richie Pisacano, and for our entire outstanding team.”
Peter & Ashlee Weis, Owners of Weis Vineyards said, “Wow! We are so honored to receive this recognition of our hard work. As a relatively new winery, only 5 years in, this is an unexpected honor. It means so much for our continued growth and success. We put our heart and soul into our business, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for this award. We would like to thank our entire Weis team, as we would not be here without them. Zum Wohl!”
The New York Wine Classic “Best in Category” winners were also announced today. They are:
Best Red Wine
Keuka Lake Vineyards 2020 Leon Millot
Best White Wine
Weis Vineyards 2020 Winzer Select Riesling A
Best Sparkling Wine
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2017 Blanc De Blanc
Best Pink Wine
Weis Vineyards 2021 Dry Rosé
Best Dessert Wine
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Solera Sherry
Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2020 Diosa Late-Harvest
Best Specialty Wine
Winery of Ellicottville Red Raspberry Wine
Judging for The New York Wine Classic took place from April 15 through June 15, 2022, and included 694 entries from 101 wineries from across the state. A total of seven Platinum, 234 Gold, 324 Silver, and 110 Bronze medals were awarded.
New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Thanks to our partners at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, the New York Wine Classic is an annual opportunity to raise a glass to New York’s innovative, world-class wine industry. I congratulate all of the winners for their dedication to quality, and thank Governor Hochul for her continued support of New York’s many craft beverage producers.”
Since taking office, Governor Hochul has supported effort to grow New York’s craft beverage industry and pave the way for unprecedented growth through regulatory reform and groundbreaking initiatives. Today, there are 496 licensed wineries across the State, including 394 farm wineries.