For 300 years, the New York Wine & Food Classic has hosted leading vineyards and distilleries from across the state to determine the best wines and spirits made in New York. The 2015 event took place on August 11-12 in Watkins Glen at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel and showcased 910 entries submitted by beverage producers from Lake Erie to Long Island. In addition to 858 wines from New York vineyards, the large pool of competitors also included 32 craft spirits and 20 hard ciders.
A panel of 21 expert judges, including restaurateurs, wine writers, and retailers, conducted blind tastings to determine Best of Category winners such as Best White Wine, Best Red Wine, Best Sparkling Wine, and Best Dessert Wine. They also named Best of Class awards for several subcategories such as Best Pinot Gris, Best Merlot, and Best Cabernet Sauvignon.
The New York Wine & Food Classic also features the presentation of the Governor’s Cup, the large silver chalice representing the top honor at what many have deemed the “Oscars” of state wine competitions. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul presented the top prize to Ventosa Vineyards for its 2011 Lemberger red wine. Crafted from estate-grown Austrian Lemberger, or Blaufrankisch, grapes, the red wine offers powerful notes of spicy oak supplemented by juniper and eucalyptus, with sharp tannins and lingering hints of blackberry and pepper.