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 three of the twelve case winners in the Northern Virginia region.
50 West Vineyards (2019 Ashby Gap) We started at 50 West and tasted through all their current wines and some new vintages with Jason, the winemaker at 50 West and Sunset Hills. I loved sitting down with Jason and learning about his winemaking style. Our favorites were the 2019 Ashby Gap and the 2019 Merlot.
Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg (2019 Le Mariage & 2019 Unité Reserve) Cana is the 2022 Virginia Governor Cup Winner with the 2019 Unité Reserve. This was my first visit to Cana, and I think I am in love. We tasted through a list curated by Melanie, the winemaker. We started with a barrel sample of albariño and tasted seven wines. My favorites were the 2021 Petit Manseng, 2019 Le Mariage (blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cab Franc), and 2019 Unité Reserve (blend of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot).
Maggie Malick Wine Caves (2020 Albariño) Maggie Malick was the final stop for the day, where we tasted through their VA Governor’s Cup Flight. We sat down with their tasting room manager while we sampled six wines. I enjoyed the 2019 Tempranillo — this won gold in the Governor’s Cup!
We ended our day the best way possible, dinner at Echelon Wine Bar. Echelon is a rustic modern wine bar located in the heart of historic downtown Leesburg and was founded by the owners of Lost Creek Winery. I absolutely love the vibe and atmosphere here — we enjoyed a bottle of Thibaut Janisson Brut and enjoyed sharing their farm-to-table small plates.
We decided to visit a few spots on the second day before returning to Richmond.
We started at Otium Cellars to taste their German/Austrian varietals. It has been so long since I visited Otium, and it was a pleasant surprise. There are many places to enjoy your wine, and the ambiance is lovely.
I was so excited to visit the new October One Vineyard Wine Shop and finally taste O1V wine! This shop is located in the heart of historic downtown Leesburg and offers glasses or flights of O1V favorites and other amazing small-batch Virginia wines curated by their team. Holly and I enjoyed the O1V red flight and their Cabernet Franc flight — both delicious!
I officially visited all but two wineries that were in the Governor’s Cup Case! It was a fun adventure and a perk to the VIP tasting ticket.