Local cidery Albemarle CiderWorks took home the Best in Show Cider award for its 2019 Virginia Hewes Crab at this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup.
Cidery officials said they are “proud to be honored by the most prestigious cider award the state has to offer.”
The Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup is held in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Vineyards Association. Virginia cider is judged in its own category, which started in 2021.
After tasting through all the entries, judges identify the top six scoring ciders then do a blind tasting and rank their favorites. The Best in Show Cider award recognizes the highest-rated cider.
When cidermaker Chuck Shelton accepted the award during last week’s celebration in Richmond, he thanked his family, customers and staff, saying “you deserve recognition as much as I do.”
“Credit must also be given to the adventurous apple growers who took a leap of faith and planted the Hewes Crab in support of our fledgling, modern cider industry,” he said. “I’d also like to remember Tom Burford, a long-time apple enthusiast who helped restore Virginia Hewes Crab to its rightful place in Virginia cider.”
CiderWorks also won two golds for its Wickson and Royal Pippin ciders and a silver for its proprietary blend, Jupiter’s Legacy.
“Virginia wines and ciders continue to cement their place in our exceptional agriculture and tourism industries and as major contributors to the Virginia economy,” Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matt Lohr wrote in a news release.
“As the state’s oldest operating cidery, this year’s Best in Show Cider winner Albemarle CiderWorks has shown a dedication to bringing locally crafted cider to the table of Virginians everywhere.”
The 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup, awarded to the wine with the highest overall score, went to Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg for its 2019 Unité Reserve—a signature estate red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
The competition received a record-breaking number of entries this year with 615 wines from over 100 Virginia wineries, the governor’s office said. In order to be eligible, all entries must be made from 100% Virginia-grown fruit.
Six of the 12 wines selected for the Governor’s Cup Case are from local vineyards. They are the 2020 Vermentino Reserve, from Barboursville Vineyards; 2019 Chardonnay, from Michael Shaps Wineworks; 2017 Meritage, from Pollak Vineyards; 2017 Meritage, from Stinson Vineyards; 2015 Brut Reserve, from Trump Winery; and 2019 NINETEEN, from Wisdom Oak Winery.