Winners were recently chosen in the 2014 N.C. State Fair Wine Competition, and for the first time a muscadine wine earned top honors in the contest.
Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level won over the panel of judges with Carolina Wildflower, its semi-sweet wine made from muscadine grapes grown in North Carolina.
The competition awards two top prizes, the N.C. Winegrowers Cup for overall best in show and the N.C. Muscadine Cup for the best muscadine wine. This is the first time in the competition’s history that both cups have gone to a muscadine wine.
“Traditionally, a vinifera wine has taken top honors in the competition and received the Winegrowers Cup.” said Whit Winslow, wine marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “Hinnant’s Carolina Wildflower is a great example of the quality and variety of wines now available in North Carolina.”
This year’s competition featured 437 entries from both commercial and amateur winemakers across the state. In addition to the two cups, best-of-category awards were presented to the following commercial wineries:
White Vinifera – Herrera Vineyards, Dobson, Dry Riesling
Rose/Blush Vinifera or Hybrid – Sanctuary Vineyards, Jarvisburg, Wildflowers
Red Vinifera – Childress Vineyards, Lexington, Barrel Select Sangiovese 2010
White Hybrid – McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks, Thurmond, Traminette
Red Hybrid – Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery, Elkin, Chambourcin – Cynthiana Blend
White Native American – Hinnant Family Vineyards, Pine Level, Carolina Wildflower
Rose/Blush Native American – Cypress Bend Vineyards, Wagram, Roseneath
Red Native American – Old North State Winery, Mount Airy, Fish Hippie Seersucker Social
Fruit/Other – Jones vonDrehle, Thurmond, Vineyards & Winery, Blackberry
Sparkling – Biltmore Estate Wine Co., Asheville, Biltmore Chateau Reserve Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Brut North Carolina
Fortified/Dessert – Sanders Ridge, Boonville, Sweet Muscat Canelli 2013
In the amateur competition, Lawrence Plott of Madison received Best of Show from the judges for his Traminette. Ribbons and prize money were also awarded to the top three wines in each amateur category.
Winners from the wine competition will be on display in the Education Building at the State Fair Oct. 16-26. Visitors can learn more about the state’s wine and grape industry at the N.C. Muscadine Growers Association display inside the Got to Be NC tent in front of the Scott Building. North Carolina wine also will be available for sample and purchase at the Got to Be NC Wine and Craft Beer exhibit in the Hunt Horse Arena outside Gate 8.
North Carolina is home to more than 140 wineries and 400 commercial grape growers. The state is ranked 10th nationally for both wine and grape production. More information about North Carolina wineries is available at www.ncwine.org.