General Business

NJ Wine Competition Results Announced

The Governor’s Cup award winners and Best in Class awards for the NJ Wine Competition were announced by the Garden State Wine Growers Association and Gov. Phil Murphy during a Zoom call with media and industry representatives.  For the third consecutive year the wines in the competition were judged by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) in Illinois headed by Jerald O’Kennard. BTI was able to judge the wines using their own internal social-distance protocols. NJ Wines were submitted for judging from April through the end of August. There were 128 wines entered in the competition.

Sharrott Winery in Hammonton won the Governor’s Cup for Best Red Wine for the 95 score it received for its 2018 Merlot.  The 95 score was the highest in the competition and earned Sharrott Winery the Best in Show honors.

The Governor’s Cup for Best White Vinifera wine was won for the second year in a row by Beneduce Vineyards of Pittstown in Hunterdon County.  Their 2019 Tuxedo scored a 93. Last year they won the Governor’s Cup with their 2017 Tuxedo. William Heritage Winery in Mullica Hill won the Governor’s Cup for Best Dessert wine with their 2017 Late Harvest Semillon with a 92 score.  They also won Best Sparking wine.

Bellview Winery in Landisville was the other multiple category winner taking home Best Red Hybrid with their 2018 Estate Bottled Chambourcin and the Best White Hybrid for the 2019 Traminette. They took the same honor last year with their 2018 Traminette.

Over the past two years the awards were announced at a special ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion Drumthwacket in Princeton. Due to the pandemic that could not be scheduled this year but Governor Murphy made the announcements via a prerecorded message on the Zoom call.

Comments from Governor Murphy:

While the pandemic is preventing us from being together at Drumthwacket, as we have been for each of the past two years, today should be no less celebratory. We should celebrate that the Governor’s Cup is one of the only statewide wine competitions to move forward this year, with a process that is now a national model.

So, in another sense, New Jersey wines continue to make their name and leave their mark.

To each and every one of you, I raise my glass. Even as much of our economy closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and even as you endured the double-whammy of a damaging late-spring frost, you stayed at work – tending to your vineyards and bottling wine, and handling curbside deliveries and direct shipping orders.

And, since our wineries reopened to visitors on June 15th, you’ve provided safe environments for wine-lovers to visit.

As we continue our long-term economic recovery, I know our ever-growing wine industry will keep us moving forward. And, when First Lady Tammy Murphy and I are able to once again open the doors of Drumthwacket, our commitment to serving only New Jersey wines to our guests remains intact.

Julia Gordon, BTI’s production manager commented on the quality of NJ wines submitted over the past three years.

“We opened the minds of nationally recognized wine professionals to a wine region that they wouldn’t have otherwise had such access to. We take great pride in their surprise and delight as they discovered the variety and quality of the Garden State.”

“I’m so grateful that BTI has the resources to continue serving and promoting New Jersey’s great wineries during the Coronavirus Pandemic. We were able to convert our sensory lab into a safe but still convivial environment where the wines could be professionally evaluated and meaningfully discussed. The pandemic didn’t stop us from another spectacular year of showcasing New Jersey wines to the trade,” said Laura Kruming-Berg, BTI associate director who ran the panels judging NJ wines.

Here is a complete list of NJ Competition winners:

NJ Wine Competition Winners

Governor’s Cup Winners

  • Governor’s Cup for Best Red Vinifera:  95 • Sharrott Winery (NJ) 2018 Merlot, Hammonton, Outer Coastal Plain
  • Governor’s Cup for Best White Vinifera: 93 • Beneduce Vineyards (NJ) 2019 Tuxedo, Pittstown, Hunterdon County
  • Governor’s Cup for Best Dessert Wine: 92 • William Heritage  (NJ) 2017 Late Harvest, Semillon, Mullica Hill, Outer Coastal Plain 17% reserved sugar

Best in Class Winners

  • Fortified Wine: 93 • Auburn Road Vineyard Vintage Ruby Fortified Wine, Chambourcin, Pilesgrove, Outer Coastal Plain 8% reserved sugar
  • Fruit Wine: 88 • Isaac Smith 2019 Apple Wine, Cape May Winery, Cape May
  • Red Wine: 95 • Sharrott Winery (NJ) 2018 Merlot, Hammonton, Outer Coastal Plain
  • Best Hybrid Red: 90 • Bellview Winery 2018 Estate Bottled Chambourcin, Landisville, Outer Coastal Plain
  • Best Rosé Wine: 90 • Working Dog Winery 2019 Equinox Estate Bottled Rosé, East Windsor, Mercer County
  • Best Sparkling Wine: 93 • William Heritage (NJ) 2017 Blanc De Blancs, Mullica Hill, Outer Coastal Plain
  • Best  Dessert Wine: 92 • William Heritage  (NJ) 2017 Late Harvest, Semillon, Mullica Hill, Outer Coastal Plain 17% reserved sugar
  • Best Vinifera White Wine: 93 • Beneduce Vineyards (NJ) 2019 Tuxedo, Pittstown, Hunterdon County
  • Best Hybrid White Wine: 89 • Bellview Winery (NJ) 2019 Estate Bottled, Traminette, Landisville, Outer Coastal Plain

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