WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - For the first time, an Indiana winery took top honors at the Indy International Wine Competition, which took place Wednesday through Friday (Aug. 1-3) at Purdue University.
River City Winery of New Albany was awarded Wine of Year for its 2011 Vignoles. The entry was among nearly 2,400 wines from 41 states and 14 countries competing in the annual event. The competition is run by the Indiana Wine Grape Council.
"For an Indiana winery to win Wine of the Year is very exciting for the Indiana wine industry," said Jeanette Merritt, the council's marketing director. "Indiana wines are outstanding, and River City not only showed that, but all of our wineries proved that in the amount of medals they won this year."
Fifty international judges selected the winning entries based on appearance, aroma, taste and aftertaste, said Christian Butzke, Purdue professor of enology and the competition's chief judge. Entries came from as far away as France, Australia, Chile and Germany.
"The nearly 2,400 wines entered in the 2012 Indy provided a fascinating perspective of things to come for American wine consumers," Butzke said.
Other wine entry awards included:
* White Wine of the Year - 2011 Gewürztraminer, Tabor Hill Winery, Buchanan, Mich.
* Red Wine of the Year - 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, Wash.
* Rosé Wine of the Year - 2011 Ellatawba Rosé, 21 Brix Winery, Portland, N.Y.
* Sparkling Wine of the Year - Carneros Cuvee, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Sonoma, Calif.
* Dessert Wine of the Year - 2011 Signature Ice Wine, Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, British Columbia, Canada.
* Fruit Wine of the Year - Cracklin Apple, Galena Cellars, Galena, Ill.
* Honey Wine of the Year - White Winter Winery, Iron River, Wis.
* Honey Wine Blend of the Year - Wyldewood Cellars, Mulvane, Kan.
E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto, Calif., was awarded the Winery of the Year Trophy, sponsored by the Leisure Family. The trophy honors the competition's best international brand.
Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery won the Winemaker of the Year Trophy, honoring the winery that wins the most gold medals by brand at the competition.
Indiana was well represented in the competition. Hoosier wineries won 363 medals, including 22 double gold, 26 gold, 110 silver and 76 bronze.
Oliver Winery of Bloomington won the Indiana Winery of the Year, the Governor's Cup, recognizing the top-winning Indiana winery. Wildcat Creek Winery of Lafayette was awarded Indiana Wine of the Year for its Chambourcin.
The Indy International features a special award division for Indiana-grown wines. Wines must be composed of more than 85 percent Indiana grown fruit to be eligible. Wildcat Creek Winery won Indiana-Made Traminette of the Year, honoring Indiana's signature wine and grape. Wildcat Creek also won Indiana-Grown American Wine of the Year for its Steuben. Brown County Winery of Nashville won Indiana-Grown Fruit Wine of the Year for its 2011 Hard Cider. River City Winery won the French-American Wine category for its 2011 Vignoles. Huber Orchard, Winery & Vineyards of Starlight won the Indiana-grown Vinifera Wine of the Year for its 2010 Heritage.
The Indy International began in 1973 as an Indiana-only event but began including entries from around the world in 1992 under the leadership of Richard Vine. Butzke took over leadership of the competition in 2006.