The Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition has concluded and there’s some press popping up around it.
The Jefferson Cup Invitational has celebrated its seventeenth year as the only competition that honors the best of the best among wineries from all of America’s wine regions. Each year we select great wines from across America; the 2016 competition included wines from twenty-seven states. At the end of the second day of this year’s tasting, November 18, 2016 wines from NINE different states had captured top honors. Just as the event’s namesake would have it, democracy reigned at this year’s Jefferson Cup Wine Competition.
The two-day competition culminated with the awarding of twenty-four Jefferson Cup Trophies. Jefferson Cups were awarded to wines made from both vinifera vines (the European species responsible for more famous wines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet) and non-vinifera vines, which flourish in the more extreme climates in the U.S.
These twenty-four prestigious Jefferson Cups, the Sweepstakes Awards for our competition, were awarded to two sparkling wines, ten white wines, nine red wines, one fruit wine and two dessert wines. “While many competitions insist upon selecting a pre-ordained number of sweepstakes winners, our judges are allowed to find the top wines, whether there are only one, two or three, or even NO winners in some categories, as has happened in previous years,” says Jefferson Cup Invitational founder Doug Frost. “This year for the first time ever, we had a fruit wine and a muscadine based wine as winners, and there were once again great examples of wine, both from vinifera and non-vinifera grapes.” Together with thirty-one other Jefferson Cup nominated wines, these twenty-four wines represent some of the most compelling wines made in America.
Although many expect California to dominate the awards, Jefferson Cups were won by eight other states as well: Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York and Washington State. California didn’t dominate, winning fewer Cups (five) to Michigan’s six Cups. The Jefferson Cup nominees, all Double Gold recipients, included wines from fifteen different states. And while there is no quota for non-vinifera wines in the Jefferson Cup finals, with both red wines and white wines, the number of vinifera and non-vinifera wines among the nominees was virtually identical.
Many people have begun to call the Jefferson Cup Invitational, the “Olympics” of wine competitions. This competition is not open to every winery willing to submit an entrance fee. Rather we select the best of the best, culled from tastings and competitions in America throughout 2016. The Jefferson Cup Invitational was founded in 1999 in honor of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson fathered our constitution, helped champion the international concept of human rights and was a seminal figure in America’s cultural, culinary (including wine) and agricultural history.
About the Jefferson Cup Invitational
The Seventeenth Annual Jefferson Cup Invitational took place on November 17 and 18, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Jefferson Cup is a different sort of wine competition, in that it is an invitational in which over seven hundred wines are pre-selected which exemplify top viticulture and winemaking throughout America.
While in years past, the Jefferson Cup has utilized unique nomenclature for its awards, this year the competition has adopted Bronze, Silver, Gold and Double Gold medals as its standards, responding to requests of many participating wineries. Out of seven hundred twenty participating wines, the judges selected just one-hundred-ninety wines to receive the Bronze Medals, honoring wines exemplary of their regions and varieties, Three-hundred-forty-five wines received Silver Medals, and the judges found sixty-six wines to be worthy of Gold Medals and thirty-one being granted Double Gold Medals. These are truly great wines, reflecting our goal of finding and praising wines of true American excellence.
Those fifty-five Double Gold wines (and Jefferson Cup nominees) were tasted by the entire group of twenty judges. Out of those honored wines, the judges collectively picked twenty-four wines to be awarded the Jefferson Cup. And by selecting both vinifera and non-vinifera wines for the Jefferson Cup each year, the goal is to respect the diversity of American viticulture and Jefferson’s own acceptance of native varieties and hybrids. Jefferson fathered our constitution, helped champion the international concept of human rights and was a seminal figure in America’s cultural, culinary (including wine) and agricultural history.
“In most other competitions there is ‘open’ seating,” says Frost, ”and California represents 90% of the entries. As a result it usually captures 90% of the honors,” he said. “What we are doing is following Mr. Jefferson’s example and allowing every quality wine-producing region in America a place at our table. Each year we select great wines from across America; the 2016 competition included wines from twenty-seven states.”
Following the Jefferson Cup competition, the remaining wines are donated for an annual event that benefits children and adults in need. This year the Jefferson Cup raised more than $100,000 for Angel Flight Central (www.angelflightcentral.org). We hope that these events reflect well upon the great heritage of Thomas Jefferson.
The 2016 JEFFERSON CUP winners are:
For Sparkling Wine:
L. Mawby Vineyards Sandpainting nv Leelenau Peninsula
St. Julian Winery Sweet Nancie nv Lake Michigan Shore
For White Non-Vinifera Wine:
Adam Puchta Winery Dry Vignoles nv Missouri
Fireside Winery Glow nv Iowa
Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery Vignoles nv Kansas
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards Southern White nv Florida
White Pine Winery Traminette 2015 Lake Michigan Shore
For White Vinifera Wine:
Barefoot Cellars Sauvignon Blanc nv California
Dry Creek Vineyards Estate Block 10 Chardonnay 2014 Russian River Valley
Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Lot 11 Lake Dana Vineyard 2014 Seneca Lake
Chateau LaFayette Reneau Riesling Semi-Dry 2015 Finger Lakes
Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Lot 11 Hanging Delta Vineyard 2014 Seneca Lake
For Fruit Wine:
Easley Winery Cranberry Jubilee nv American (Indiana)
For Red Vinifera Wine:
Brian Carter Cellars Solesce 2012 Columbia Valley
Carol Shelton Wild Thing Old Vine Zinfandel 2014 Mendocino County
Reininger Winery Helix Syrah 2012 Columbia Valley
Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Walla Walla Valley
Goldschmidt Vineyard Forefathers Cabernet Sauvignon Lone Tree Vineyard 2014 Alexander Valley
For Red Non-Vinifera Wine:
Aubrey Vineyards Trail Rider Red nv American (Kansas)
Missouri State University Norton 2015 Missouri
Noboleis Vineyards Norton 2015 Missouri
For Dessert Wine:
12 Corners Vineyards Vidal Ice Wine 2016 Lake Michigan Shore
St. Julian Winery Solera Cream Sherry nv Michigan