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State News: Gov. Hochul Announces Winners of 36th Annual New York Wine Classic

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the winners of the 36th Annual New York Wine Classic, a nationally recognized competition highlighting the best of New York State wines. During a live virtual event hosted by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, Governor Hochul presented the Governor’s Cup, the competition’s most esteemed award, to two wineries in a surprise tie. The award was presented to Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ Solera Sherry from the Finger Lakes region and Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s 2020 Diosa Late-Harvest from Long Island. Additionally, Weis Vineyards from the Finger Lakes was awarded with “Winery of the Year”, which is presented to the winery with the best overall showing.  

“The New York Wine Classic celebrates the very best of New York’s wine and grape industries, and this year’s winners are stellar examples of the high-quality wine we’ve come to know and love in our State,” Governor Hochul said. “I congratulate Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, and Weis Vineyards on receiving these prestigious awards. The wine industry is an essential part of New York’s agricultural economy and I’m proud to support the continued innovation, growth, and success of our wineries and farmers.”   

“New York is blessed with an abundant supply of fantastic wineries all across New York State from Long Island to Western New York,” Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado said. “While the pandemic created extraordinary challenges for the wine industry, New York’s wineries and vineyards have adapted, and continue to create some of the country’s best wines. These wineries have helped contribute to the economic vitality of this state and their communities and have made New York State a premier wine destination.”      

Organized annually by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF), the New York Wine Classic celebrates a diverse selection of world-class wines from producers within the State. For the second year, NYWGF has partnered with the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) to judge wines submitted. Scores were awarded by BTI’s trained sensory panel comprised of beverage directors, sommeliers, top bartenders, retail buyers, and educators.   

In addition to winning the Governor’s Cup, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards also received a platinum medal and tied for Best Dessert Wine for their Solera Sherry. Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, located in Hector, Schuyler County, was established in 1985 by the late Jerry Hazlitt and his wife Elaine. The family has been growing grapes and orchard fruits as their business since 1852. The winery and vineyards are now managed by sixth generation family members Doug Hazlitt and Leigh (Hazlitt) Triner.   
   
In addition to winning the Governor’s Cup, Wölffer Estate Vineyard also took home a platinum medal and tied for Best Dessert Wine with their 2020 Diosa Late-Harvest. Wölffer Estate Vineyard, located in Sagaponack, Suffolk County, has been known as one of the finest producers on the East Coast and a center for innovation and hospitality for over 30 years. Founded in 1988 by Christian Wölffer, the estate is currently owned and operated by his children, Marc and Joey Wölffer, and Winemaker/Partner Roman Roth.       

In addition to Winery of the Year, Weis Vineyards, located in Hammondsport, Steuben County, also took home a platinum medal and Best Pink Wine award for their 2021 Dry Rosé, along with the Best White Wine award for their 2020 WinzerSelect Riesling A which received a gold medal. They also took home gold medals for their 2019 Merlot, 2021 Zweigelt Dry Rosé, 2017 Riesling Ice Wine, 2019 Riesling Ice Wine, 2020 Semi Dry Riesling, and their 2020 Dry Riesling. Winemaker Hans Peter Weis, owner of Weis Vineyards, was born in Zell Mosel, Germany and grew up in the vineyards and cellar of his family winery. It is there that he gained his passion for wine. In the spring of 2016, he and his wife Ashlee, a native of the Finger Lakes, decided they would begin this adventure together and open Weis Vineyards. He found the Finger Lakes to be the perfect place to pursue his passion of handcrafting traditional German-style wines for all to enjoy.   

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 tied for the Governor’s Cup trophy this year. They, along with the Winery of the Year, Weis Vineyards, are perfect examples of the breadth and depth of quality wines New York can produce. From Long Island to the Finger Lakes, from dry wines to dessert wines, New York truly does have something for every wine enthusiast. What an adventure it would be to plan a visit to each of these winners this summer and fall.”   

Leigh Hazlitt-Triner, Co-CEO of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards said, “We are honored to receive the coveted Governor’s Cup. This award is a testament to our talented and hardworking winemaking and vineyard teams; we couldn’t be more proud.”     

Roman Roth, Winemaker & Partner, Wölffer Estate Vineyard said“The forward-thinking actions of the New York Governor’s office have been instrumental in the success and progression of the New York wine industry. To receive the Governor’s Cup at the New York Wine Classic is a huge milestone for a winery and a fantastic achievement. This award is for the owners Joey and Marc Wölffer, for our CEO Max Rohn, for the best Vineyard manager Richie Pisacano, and for our entire outstanding team.”     

Peter and Ashlee Weis, Weis Vineyards said, “Wow! We are so honored to receive this recognition of our hard work. As a relatively new winery, only five years in, this is an unexpected honor. It means so much for our continued growth and success. We put our heart and soul into our business, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for this award. We would like to thank our entire Weis team, as we would not be here without them. Zum Wohl!”      

The New York Wine Classic “Best in Category” winners were also announced today. They are:   

 

Best Red Wine   
Keuka Lake Vineyards 2020 Leon Millot   

Best White Wine   
Weis Vineyards 2020 Winzer Select Riesling A   

Best Sparkling Wine   
Dr. Konstantin Frank 2017 Blanc De Blanc   

Best Pink Wine   
Weis Vineyards 2021 Dry Rosé   

Best Dessert Wine   
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Solera Sherry   
Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2020 Diosa Late-Harvest       

Best Specialty Wine   
Winery of Ellicottville Red Raspberry Wine    

“Best of Class” winners of the New York Wine Classic can be found here.   

Judging for The New York Wine Classic took place from April 15 through June 15, 2022 and included 694 entries from 101 wineries from across the state. A total of seven platinum, 234 gold, 324 silver, and 110 bronze medals were awarded.      

New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Thanks to our partners at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, the New York Wine Classic is an annual opportunity to raise a glass to New York’s innovative, world-class wine industry. I congratulate all of the winners for their dedication to quality and thank Governor Hochul for her continued support of New York’s many craft beverage producers.”   

State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent G. Bradley said“No state has done more to assist and promote craft beverage manufacturing than New York. And with the continued work and support of Governor Hochul, there is no doubt as to why New York has been one of the top five ranked states for wineries in the country, year after year. The New York Wine Classic is a tremendous opportunity to not only showcase some of the best wines in the U.S., but to also celebrate the continued success of our craft beverage industry. Cheers to this year’s winners and New York State’s wine industry, which is a source of pride, creator of jobs and driver of tourism throughout our state.”      

State Senator Michelle Hinchey said“New York’s world-class winemakers and grape growers have put our state on the map as a top-producing wine state while driving local tourism and strengthening the local economies that support this important agricultural sector. The annual New York Wine Classic is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work of the people, businesses, and communities who power our wine and grape industries, and I’d like to congratulate this year’s esteemed winners Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, and Weis Vineyards on their awards.”      

Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, “I’d like to congratulate the winners of the 2022 New York Wine Classic. This competition showcases New York’s world class vintages and celebrates the amazing wine makers who produced them. From the Niagara Escarpment Wine Region to the Finger Lakes and down to the South Fork of Long Island, New York’s wineries have something for everyone to enjoy.”     

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “New York State’s craft beverage producers support jobs and economic growth, and welcome visitors from around the world to tour their operations and sample their products. As the annual New York Wine Classic recognizes the best of the state’s world-class wineries, I thank all participating vintners for their dedication and for promoting the state as a craft beverage destination.”      

Since taking office, Governor Hochul has supported efforts to grow New York’s craft beverage industry, including a plan to permanently legalize to-go drinks, and to ensure a more efficient State Liquor Authority. Governor Hochul also announced proposals to update the state’s liquor laws and to fund operational improvements at the State Liquor Authority to revitalize the state’s multi-billion-dollar hospitality industry, one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic. Today, there are 496 licensed wineries across the State, including 394 farm wineries.        

About the New York Wine & Grape Foundation The mission of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is to promote the world-class image of New York grapes and wines from our diverse regions to responsibly benefit farmers, producers and consumers through innovative marketing, research, communication, and advocacy. We endeavor to ensure that New York State is recognized as the world’s premier region for cool and cold climate viticulture. To learn more about the New York Wine Classic please visit www.newyorkwines.org/classic.   

Mark Ziobro
Mark Ziobrohttps://uticaphoenixnet.wpcomstaging.com
Mark is the current Managing Editor for The Utica Phoenix, and a Central New York Native.
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