This past spring, I attended the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup Celebration and witnessed the conclusion of this year’s record-breaking competition! As a VIP ticket holder, I received free tastings at each of the case-winning wineries and best-in-show cider winner. Judges awarded 65 wineries, cideries, and meaderies across Virginia with 127 gold medals — the 12 wines with the highest score are identified as the Governor’s Cup Case. We planned this trip to visit seven of the twelve case winners in the Monticello AVA in Charlottesville.
Where to Stay
I had the pleasure of working with Jamie Inlow, the owner of Be Still Getaways. She put us up for the evening in one of her gorgeous rentals (she has a ton in and around the Charlottesville area). We stayed at Pine Cottage right off Nelson 151. Pine Cottage is a stylish, retro little spot suitable for parties of up to six people. We enjoyed the large hot tub, fire pit, and screened-in porch. Additionally, Pine Cottage features a foosball table, photo moment, and main level King bedroom. It is the perfect spot to recharge and relax after a winery-filled day/weekend.
We drove from Richmond and visited the wineries listed in this order:
Trump Winery (2015 Brut Reserve) Trump recently moved to a new tasting room, and it is gorgeous — the view itself makes it a worthwhile experience. We tasted through their Gold Medal Flight: Blanc de Blanc 2017, Sparkling Rose 2015, Sparkling Reserve 2015, and New World Reserve 2019. All of the wines were fantastic — we particularly loved the Sparkling Reserve, and I am a big fan of their Sauvignon Blanc.
Michael Shaps (2019 Chardonnay)Our second stop was the famous Michael Shaps. We tasted through the traditional tasting at Shaps, which included two gold medal wines that we got to pick. We also got to tour the production facility — this was a treat since so many Virginia wines get made here. I enjoyed Shaps Burgundian wines that we will get to sample in Burgandy — we just set up our appointment to visit Maison Shaps in September!
Wisdom Oak Winery (2019 NINETEEN) You know my favorite winery in Charlottesville is Wisdom Oak — it’s no surprise that I was thrilled when I found out they were in the case. Nineteen also took home the Monticello Cup, too! This highly decorated wine is fantastic. We did not get to experience the VIP tasting here, but we have plans to visit in the fall. We tasted through their traditional flight and stocked up on Nineteen and their delicious Blanc de Blanc.
Albemarle Ciderworks (2019 Virginia Hewes Crab) Our final stop of day one was at Albemarle Ciderworks. It had been years since I visited, so I was glad to be back. We tasted their Gold Medal Flight: Virginia Hewes Crab, Royal Pippin, Wickson, and Jupiter’s Legacy. We also got to tour the production facility — the production is very similar to wine, but they have a few differences when it comes to pressing.
We started day two with lunch at Blue Mountain Brewery. This is my favorite brewery off Nelson 151. They have a great menu with pizza, sandwiches, and burgers — they also serve local Virginia wine. We even picked up a pizza the night before to enjoy at Pine Cottage.
Pollak Vineyards (2017 Meritage) Pollak blew me away with their VIP tasting. We were lucky enough to get a tour and tasting with their assistant winemaker, who talked about their vineyards, winemaking, and wines. We enjoyed a seated tasting accompanied with cheese, bread, and olive oil. We even got to sample their up-and-coming Sauvignon Blanc. I enjoyed their 2019 Pinot Gris, 2016 Meritage, and 2018 Cabernet Franc.
Stinson Vineyards (2017 Meritage) At Stinson, we got to pick a flight. I had to sample their Sauvignon Blanc, Rose of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and fantastic Meritage. I am such a huge fan of their wines, outdoor area, and tasting room — it is always a treat to visit.
Barboursville Vineyards (2020 Vermentino Reserve) The last stop of our adventure was Barboursville. We had a reservation in the Library to sample their Vermentino Reserve and Octagon. We also sampled their sparkling flight — I can’t say no to bubbles!
Remember to take advantage of the VA Wine Gold Medal Trail, a mobile passport that brings gold-medal-winning wineries from the 2022 Governor’s Cup Competition to your fingertips. Follow the trail to taste the award-winning wine and check in to earn prizes.