By Christopher Matthews
At last week’s 2018 New York Wine Classic, the 33rd annual “Oscars” of the NY wine industry, some 853 NY wines competed for medals (Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze), the coveted “Governor’s Cup” (Best in Show), Winery of the Year and multiple other Best-in-category and Best-in-class awards. In terms of headline results, Keuka Spring Vineyards’ (Finger Lakes) 2017 Gewürztraminer took the “Governor’s Cup”, and the estimable Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery won Winery of the Year (click here for the complete results).
But an important development in this year’s Classic was unrelated to wine: 71 hard cider entries came from several regions across New York State, including Central New York, Finger Lakes, Lake Champlain, Lake Erie, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Niagara Escarpment, Thousand Islands, and Upper Hudson Valley, reflecting the vibrant – and growing — NY State craft hard cider scene.
There were three categories for cider at the Classic this year: Best Modern Cider, Best Specialty Cider and Best Heritage Cider. Angry Orchard’s (Hudson Valley) “Baldwin SVC 2015” won Best Modern Cider; Three Brothers Wineries & Estates (Finger Lakes) “Cane Mutiny, Red Apple Bombshell” won Best Specialty Cider and Kite & String’s (Finger Lakes) “Pioneer Pippin” was awarded Best Heritage Cider on the way to ultimately winning the 2018 Governor’s Cider Cup.
“With an historic orchard tradition, favorable soil, climate and weather patterns for growing apples, and our community of craft beverage experts, it is no wonder that New York cider is recognized for its premium quality,” said Jenn Smith, Executive Director of the New York Cider Association. “We’re grateful to the New York Wine Classic for working with us to include categories reflecting the diversity of cider being made in New York, and communicating the shared language of the national cider industry, thereby helping us shine a light on the excellence of New York cider.”
On the wine side of the ledger, the star of the Hudson Valley wineries was unquestionably Brotherhood Winery, which took home, inter alia, Best Dessert Wine (2017 Late Harvest Riesling, pictured below), Best Cabernet Sauvignon (2015 New York Icon Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard) and Best Merlot (2014 New York Icon Merlot, Single Vineyard).