Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Regional Wineries Take Grand Harvest Award Honors

Bookmark and Share    Judging for the 2011 Grand Harvest Awards, an international wine competition produced by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, completed its mission of recognizing outstanding wines from all over the world and simultaneously studying the effects of terroir on wine quality. Celebrating its 21st year, the Grand Harvest Awards was held March 1-2 at Villa Chanticleer, Healdsburg, California.

Twenty-two judges evaluated 1,346 entries and awarded a total of 947 medals including 145 gold, 401 silver and 401 bronze. Garnering medals at the Grand Harvest Awards (GHA) is difficult to achieve because of its traditional high standards of excellence.

“We had great wines from a wide variety of growing regions,” said Bill Traverso, the chairman of the GHA and the director of wine competitions at Vineyard & Winery Management. “Producers in regions such as Lake Erie, the Finger Lakes, Virginia and Canada are finding out which grapes perform best under their unique growing conditions.”

The Grand Harvest Awards is the only North American wine competition that presents entries to judges according to regional classification. Wines of particular appellations are arranged in flights and evaluated by judges who are unaware of the geographic origin or producer, knowing only varietal name when relevant. In contrast, other competitions group wines by varietal name and suggested retail price.

Beyond the determination of medals, the Grand Harvest Awards also recognizes entries that best exemplify the terroir of their respective viticultural areas, and acknowledges the influence of terroir on wine quality. After evaluating each flight, judges frequently discuss their impressions in order to identify the signature elements of terroir and their link to regional typicity (wine characteristics that are common to particular growing regions).

While it is has no scientific definition, terroir is considered to be the combined expression of soil, climate, elevation and topography in the aroma, flavor and tactile sensations of wine beyond clone and rootstock selection, cultural practices, and winemaking techniques.

The only winery in Michigan to score gold was Tabor Hill, which received gold medals for four wines: NV Grand Mark, '08 Valvin Muscat, '09 Kerner and NV Classic Demi-Red.

The highest medals awarded in Ohio were silvers. Three went to Debonne and one to Raven's Glen.

Finger Lakes wineries achieving gold medals were: Anthony Road, Belhurst, Hunt Country Vineyard, Lucas Vineyard, Thirsty Owl Wine Company, Treleaven and Ventosa.

Although Ohio missed out on gold, Lake Erie was represented. New York's Liberty Vineyards and Winery, plocated in the Lake Erie AVA grabbed four gold medals.. I'm pleased to see that as I'll be visiting there next month.

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