Local Wineries Shine At The 2022 Maryland Governor’s Cup Wine Competition
Local Wineries Shine At The 2022 Maryland Governor’s Cup Wine Competition
Competition organizer, Al Spoler, addresses judges at the 2022 Maryland Governor’s Cup wine competition. Photo courtesy of the Maryland Wineries Association.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Big Cork Vineyards earned the 2022 Maryland Governor’s Cup for its 2021 Siberian Ice dessert wine and Loew Vineyards claimed the Jack Aellen Cup for its non-vintage Klara mead. This year’s competition scored more than 150 locally produced wines. 

The competition was judged by 16 judges and included a national collection of sommeliers, industry professionals and members of wine media. This annual competition focuses on Maryland-grown grapes and fruit. The Governor’s Cup is awarded annually to the top-scoring grape wine and the producer of the best fruit wine, mead or cider earns the Jack Aellen Cup. A collection of award-winning wines will be featured in the Maryland Wine Explorer Village at the 2022 Maryland Wine Festival in Westminster, Md., on Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18.

“It was an incredible showing,“ said Kevin Atticks, Executive Director of the Maryland Wineries Association, who was impressed by the breadth of submissions and caliber of judges. 

Big Cork Vineyard’s Siberian Ice is a dessert wine produced with a grape blend that includes Muscat Canelli, Vidal Blanc and SK 7753, a hybrid grape originally from Russia. The winery’s head producer, winemaker Dave Collins, credits the SK variety for this wine’s dominant aroma and unique flavor characteristics. Since 2018, wines produced with the unique Russian grape have earned Big Cork Vineyards numerous “Best In Class” awards. 

“The SK 7753 grape is versatile and is typically used to produce our Russian Kiss,” said Collins. “We are able to harvest this grape early in the season to produce sparkling wine like Sparkling Kiss, or we can wait until late in the season when the grapes have higher sugar levels. To produce an ice wine such as Siberian Ice in Maryland, the grapes are harvested fully ripe, pressed while frozen, then barrel-fermented and aged. We are very honored to have this wine selected to win the 2022 Maryland Governor’s Cup.”

Rachel Lipman, the fifth-generation winemaker at Loew Vineyards in Mt. Airy, was thrilled that Klara earned the competition’s top award for fruit wines and meads. Klara is a pyment-style dry mead produced with Muscat Canelli grapes and locally-sourced honey. The Tribute Series of wines recognizes generations of the Löw family and Klara is named for the mother of the winery’s late founder—and Lipman’s grandfather—William Loew.

“This recognition is an affirmation of the beauty of our family’s legacy,” Lipman said. “The Tribute Series is a unique way for us to honor our family members and their histories. As a generational winery, our future is shaped by our past; it means so much to my grandmother, Lois, and me that we can tell our family’s stories through the high-quality meads and wines we produce.”

Eight wines received recognition for earning “Best In Class” titles in their entry categories. Double Gold medals were unanimously awarded by judges to 11 wines and gold medals were awarded to 17 additional entries. 

2022 Maryland Governor’s Cup Awards

Best In Class Award Winners

White Blend: Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards Vintage Blend 2021

White: Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard Vidal Blanc 2021

Rosé: Cabin Vineyard Breeze 2021

Red: Links Bridge Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2020

Red Blend: Port of Leonardtown Winery Old Line Red 2019

Off-Dry: Links Bridge Vineyards Vichard 2021

Mead: Loew Vineyards Tribute Series: Klara

Dessert: Big Cork Vineyards Siberian Ice 2021

Double Gold Medal Winners

  • Big Cork Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2020 
  • Big Cork Vineyards Siberian Ice 2021
  • Big Cork Vineyards Vidal Ice 2020
  • Cabin Vineyard Breeze 2020
  • Cabin Vineyard Breeze 2021
  • Crow Farm & Vineyard Vintners Select White 2021
  • Links Bridge Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2020
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery Cabernet Franc 2020
  • Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards Vintage Blend 2021
  • Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard Penelope 2021
  • Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard Vidal Blanc 2021

Gold Medal Winners

  • Big Cork Vineyards Merlot 2020
  • Big Cork Vineyards Muscat Canelli 2021
  • Big Cork Vineyards Russian Kiss 2021
  • Cabin Vineyard Red 2019
  • Catoctin Breeze Vineyard Estate Syrah 2020
  • Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery Ridgeton Red 2021
  • Links Bridge Vineyards Vichard 2021
  • Loew Vineyards Tribute Series: Klara NV
  • Loew Vineyards Tribute Series: Malka NV
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery Captain’s Table 2021
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery Old Line Red 2019
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery Vidal Blanc 2021
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery Vintner’s Select Red 2020
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery Viognier 2021
  • Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards MD-32 2019
  • Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard Circe 2021
  • Windridge Vineyards Albariño 2021

All additional awards may be viewed on the Maryland Wineries Association Governor’s Cup website. To learn more about Maryland wine competitions, their results and the state’s wine industry please visit marylandwine.com. The Maryland Wineries Association invites the public to explore local wine at events like the 38th Maryland Wine Festival. Tickets to this upcoming event are now on sale and can be purchased at marylandwinefestival.org.

About the Competition. The Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition awards the best Maryland wines produced from grapes, fruit, and honey grown within the state. Red, white, rosé and sparkling wines compete for the Governor’s Cup. Fruit wines, meads, and ciders produced in Maryland are judged at this competition and vie for the Jack Aellen Cup. 

About the Jack Aellen Cup. The Jack Aellen Cup specifically highlights the top-scoring fruit wine, cider or mead. The cup is named after Linganore Winecellars founder, Jack Aellen, who pioneered wines made from fruit and honey in Maryland. The “Jack Aellen Cup” is presented annually alongside the Governor’s Cup.

About the Maryland Wineries Association. The Maryland Wineries Association (MWA), formed in 1984, is the non-profit trade association that represents more than 85 member wineries in Maryland. MWA’s mission is to develop and expand Maryland’s grape and wine industry – through education and promotion.

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