ALBANY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the top winners of the 35th annual New York Wine Classic, a nationally recognized competition highlighting the best of New York’s wine. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement this evening during a special live virtual event hosted by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. This year, the Governor’s Cup, the most esteemed award given at the Classic, was presented to Pindar Vineyards for its 2019 Dr. Dan’s Signature Collection, Gewurztraminer from the Long Island region. In addition, Paumanok Vineyards from Long Island was presented with the ‘Winery of the Year’ award.
“Congratulations to Pindar Vineyards and Paumanok Vineyards for not only the recognition they won in the competition, but also for showcasing why New York State is a premier wine destination” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to our strategic investments, New York’s wine industry has seen unprecedented growth over these past few years, and as we reopen our state, wine enthusiasts can enjoy this unique part of the New York experience all across the state.”
“The pandemic created extraordinary challenges for the wine industry, but New York’s wineries and vineyards adapted, innovated and continued to create some of the country’s best wines,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “From Long Island to Lake Erie, New York is now home to more than 1,200 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries that are finally being recognized for their preeminent products. Congratulations to Pindar Vineyards and Paumanok Vineyards for their well-deserved awards.”
The Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all entries in the New York Wine Classic. The “Winery of the Year” award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.
In addition to winning the Governor’s Cup, Pindar Vineyards, based in Peconic, also received the only Platinum Medal of the competition for Best White Wine. Pindar Vineyards was founded by Dr. Herodotus “Dan” Damianos – a pioneer that helped create the winemaking industry on Long Island in the early 1980’s—and continues today to be a family-run operation. Pindar produces over 70,000 cases of wine a year, making them the largest vineyard on Long Island.
Paumanok Vineyards, located in Aquebogue, also took home from the New York Wine Classic Gold Medals in Best Vinifera Red Blend; Best Traditional Method Sparkling Wine and Best Sauvignon Blanc. Paumanok’s 127-acre estate is owned and managed by Ursula and Charles Massoud, and their three sons. At Paumanok, premium vinifera grapevines are planted, consisting of Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The traditional dense planting of the vineyards at 1100 to 1400 vines per acre produces more concentrated fruit and therefore higher quality wines.
Samuel Filler, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, “We wish to extend our congratulations to all the winners, and recognize the two historic and important wineries that took home the Governor’s Cup trophy and Winery of the Year award. We had a particularly strong showing from the North Fork of Long Island this year. The results of the Classic shine a spotlight on the fact that New York produces amazing wine worth exploring in every region across the state. We are looking forward to weather turning warm, and safe travel returning soon. Going on an adventure to visit the winners of the New York Wine Classic will be a perfect way to explore New York wines from corner to corner.”
Pindar Vineyards Owner & General Manager Pindar Damianos said, “Pindar Vineyards is so proud to have won the 2021 Governor’s Cup for our 2019 Gewürztraminer. This has been a true testament to our dedication to winemaking on Long Island. We’re proud to release this wine with the Dr. Dan’s label in honour of our founder, Dr. Damianos, to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We thank the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the New York Wine Classic and the Beverage Testing Institute for this great award.”
Paumanok Vineyards Winemaker Kareem Massoud said, “”We are thrilled and honored to receive the 2021 Winery of the Year award at the New York Wine Classic. We thank the New York Wine & Grape Foundation for producing this event. Above all, we thank our entire hard-working team at Paumanok Vineyards for their commitment to producing outstanding, delicious wines. We congratulate all of our colleagues for their awards.”
“Best in Category” winners were also announced today. They are:
Governor’s Cup and Best White Wine
Dr. Dan’s Signature Collection
Best Sparking Wine
Blanc De Blancs 2016
Best Pink Wine
Ryan William Vineyard
Pinot Noir Rose 2019
Best Red Wine
Best Dessert Wine
Riesling Ice Wine
“Best of Class” winners of the New York Wine Classic were announced February 24, 2021. The results can be found here.
Judging for The New York Wine Classic took place from November 1, 2020 – February 15, 2021 and included 607 entries from 96 wineries from across the state. A total of 1 Platinum, 138 Gold, 355 Silver, and 104 Bronze medals were awarded. For the first time ever, the NYWGF partnered with the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) to judge wines submitted from across New York State.
New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Congratulations to the Governor’s Cup and Winery of the Year winners, as well as all of the winners and participants of the New York Wine Classic. We are fortunate to have been able to continue the long-standing tradition of the New York Wine Classic, thanks to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. This esteemed annual competition exemplifies the very best of the State’s world-class wineries and our agricultural community that produces the ingredients used to create these outstanding varietals.”
New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, “We congratulate today’s winners and all the participating wineries who are helping to showcase the outstanding quality of New York wines. Following the challenges the industry faced this year, the New York Wine Classic is a welcomed opportunity to celebrate our wineries, winemakers, and grape growers, who are producing world-class wines and spurring economic growth, driving tourism and creating jobs in every corner of the state.”
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “New York State’s world-class vineyards and wineries continue to grow and produce wines that draw national and international acclaim. The annual New York Wine Classic showcases the best of the best, while recognizing the people, businesses and communities that support this vital industry. I thank them for their dedication to the craft.”
Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has led the effort to grow New York’s craft beverage industry and pave the way for unprecedented growth through new legislation, regulatory reform, groundbreaking initiatives, and promotional campaigns. Today, there are 471 licensed wineries across the State, including 374 farm wineries.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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