The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards Takes Top Honors at 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup Wine Competition

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The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, wines from the 2014 vintage, and Petit Verdot from across Virginia Shine at the 35th Virginia Governor’s Cup Wine Competition.

At a ceremony this evening at the John Marshall Ballroom in Richmond, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Presented the 2017 Governor’s Cup to the team at The Barns and Hamilton Station Vineyards for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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“I’m excited to see The Barns at Hamilton Station Cabernet Sauvignon win this year’s Governor’s Cup,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “Andrew and Maryann Fialdini [the founders of The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards] are seeing the results of eight years of planning and hard work come to fruition. My congratulations to them on this outstanding wine.”

The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon bested over 490 other Virginia wines to win the 2017 Cup.  This year’s competition included 494 wines (up from 432 last year) submitted from 102 wineries (up from 95 last year).  

“The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards is a family venture,” said Andrew Fialdini, who founded the winery along with his wife Maryann. “Our family is honored to be recognized with this prestigious award and we are proud of this wine and our winemaker, Michael Shaps.”

“I grew up working on my aunt and uncle’s farm in Idaho and after a career in government service that took our family all over the world, I wanted to get back on a tractor and work the land,” said Fialdini of his decision to plant vineyards and start a winery.

Situated on eleven acres in the town of Hamilton, VA, just off Route 7, about 10 minutes northwest of Leesburg, The Barns (as it’s known to regulars) was founded in 2010.  The Fialdinis planted three acres of grapevines in 2011.

The Barns at Hamilton Station is named for a train station popular with westbound travelers from Washington, DC, in the late 1800s.  An early 20th century stone and wood bank barn is the historic centerpiece of the farm, which was restored several years ago and serves as the tasting room today.  

The 2017 competition marks the first Governor’s Cup win and second gold medal for the relatively new winery, but one of many for noted Charlottesville-based winemaker and viticulture consultant, Michael Shaps, who made the winning wine for The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards.

“It’s rewarding when one of our clients succeeds and one of our wines is recognized,” said Shaps. “This is my 23rd vintage as a winemaker in Virginia and seventeenth consulting with clients across the state and my goal remains the same, to help the entire industry grow and improve wine quality.”

Shaps sourced the fruit for the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Carter’s Mountain Vineyard in Charlottesville and Mount Juliet Vineyard in White Hall (near Crozet).   

Nine of the 12 wines in the Governor’s Case were from the 2014 vintage, including a Meritage red blend from Shaps eponymous label.

Joining the Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 11 other Virginian wines are included in the Governor’s Cup Case. The 2017 Virginia Governor’s Case includes:

  • Barboursville Vineyards 2013 Paxxito
  • Breaux Vineyards 2012 Meritage
  • Horton Vineyards 2015 Viognier
  • Ingleside Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • Jefferson Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • King Family Vineyards, 2014 Loreley
  • King Family Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • Michael Shaps Wineworks, 2014 Meritage
  • Valley Road Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot
  • Veritas Vineyard and Winery, 2014 Petit Manseng
  • Veritas Vineyard and Winery, 2014 Petit Verdot Paul Shaffer 6th Edition

The five 2014 Petit Verdots included in the Governor’s Case this year are a testament to the future potential of this variety in Virginia.  The strong showing of Petit Verdot from vineyards across the state is also curious since these big bold reds tend to peak with six to seven years of age.

Prior year Governor’s Cup winners include: 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve from Keswick Vineyards last year, the Clio red blend from Muse Vineyards (in 2015), the 2010 Adagio red blend from The Williamsburg Winery (in 2014), the 2009 Octagon from Barboursville Vineyards (in 2013), and the 2009 Hodder Hill red blend from Glen Manor Vineyards in 2012, the first year of the revamped competition format.

The Governor’s Cup competition is sponsored by the Virginia Wineries Association, in partnership with the gubernatorial-appointed Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Vineyards Association.  The 2017 competition marks the 35th Virginia Governor’s Cup and the sixth year of the revamped format under the leadership of head judge Jay Youmans, MW.

Congratulations to all medalists and award winners, the Virginia Wineries Association, the Virginia Wine Board, The Virginia Vineyards Association, and Jay Youmans for another successful Governor’s Cup.

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