June 13, 2005
In the past 25 years, Virginia has begun to make noise in the wine world. Those making a difference were honored tonight in the 23rd edition of the Governor's Cup. The cup is a competition to find the best wines from across the state. Five different Charlottesville wineries were honored for their accomplishments.
"The Governor's Cup is without question the most prestigious of the [possible winery] awards. You can take your wine elsewhere, but locally, what you win is very very important," said Andrew Hodson of Veritas Winery.
Governor Mark Warner, a vineyard owner in his own right, was on hand to present the eleven gold medal winners, along with the Governor's Cup winner. He recognized the many contributions the wine makers have made and the importance of the industry for the state.
"Today producers and wineries contribute almost $100 million to our economy and that does not count all the ancillary tourism activity," said Warner.
Over 40 wineries entered this year's competition, hoping to have their name read at the Governor's Mansion. While of course winning is important, these Charlottesville wine makers say it is about so much more.
"You do it because you love it, that's the most important thing, you really have to love it," said Keswick Vineyard representative Kris Schronberg.
"You have to have a passion for wine and really can enjoy the process. If you are in it to make money, you've made a bad move," said Edward Schwab from Autumn Hill Winery.
And while the cup went to James River Cellars from Hanover County, the Charlottesville wine makers say it was an honor to be recognized.
"It is a fun experience to be with the best wines in Virginia," Schwab said.
Virginia has 92 vineyards, producing over 3,700 tons of grapes, which makes Virginia the 5th highest grape producer in the country.