For the past 38 years, Virginia has been the host of one of the most stringent wine competitions in the United States.

In February, 868 Estate Vineyards won first place in the 2020 Governor’s Cup with their 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito.

Virginia is the sixth-largest wine region in the United States, and because of its geographical location between Europe and California, it is not tied down to one signature grape. This makes the wines unique in variety, which makes Virginia the perfect spot to hold a competition for the best of the best.

2020 Governors Cup Case Wines

2020 Governors Cup Case Wines

For this competition within a competition, 19 world-class judges sample over 530 wines from more than 100 wineries made with fruits solely sourced from Virginia. Ratings use a 100-point scale to determine the highest-scoring wines to be awarded with bronze, silver, or gold medals. The top ranked wines earn a spot in the Governor’s Case, while the wine with the highest score becomes the winner of the Virginia Governor’s Cup.

2020 Governors Cup Case Wines

2020 Governors Cup Case Wines

Jay Youmans, one of only 51 Masters of Wine (MW) in the United States, was the lead in the judging panel this year.

In this year’s case, there is wide representation from most regions in Virginia, especially Central Virginia with eight wines included. Also, two wines are from Northern Virginia and two are from Shenandoah Valley. 868 Estate Vineyards is the first winner whose wine is made from entirely Loudoun County fruits.

2017 Vidal Blanc Passito

2017 Vidal Blanc Passito

This year’s winner, 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito, is a dessert wine by Carl DiManno, President and winemaker at 868 Estate Vineyards. It was carefully crafted using the ‘appassimento’ technique, which keeps the natural grape sugar in the final product by halting the fermentation process early.

Here are the other 11 wines that won a spot in the 2020 Governor’s Cup Case

Afton Mountain Vineyards Tradition (2017)

Barboursville Vineyards Octagon (2014)

Barboursville Vineyards Vermentino Reserve (2018)

Delaplane Cellars Williams Gap (2017)

Lake Anna Winery Tannat (2017)

Michael Shaps Wineworks Meritage (2016)

Pippin Hill Vineyards Petit Verdot (2017)

Pollak Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve (2017)

Pollak Vineyards Smuggler (2017)

Rockbridge Vineyard Vd’Or (2017)

Shenandoah Vineyards Shenandoah Reserve Red (2017)