Announcing the 2017 Governor’s Cup Winners: Virginia’s Best Wines


During the 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup, Governor McAuliffe recognized some of the best wines in Virginia. While it is perfectly fine to look for these winning wines at your local grocery store, the fact is that many Virginia wines are only available at the wineries and a few select shops. Get the full experience when you visit these gorgeous wineries and taste their award-winning vintages.



In its 35th year, the Governor’s Cup has become one of the most rigorous and well respected wine competitions in the country. The highest rated wine out of over 490 entries is chosen after three days of tasting and deliberation as the Governor’s Cup Winner.


The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards—Hamilton

Governor’s Cup Winner: 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Governor’s Case Winner: 2014 Meritage

barns at hamilton station vineyard and winery

Judges rated the Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon as the overall winner for the 2017 Governor’s Cup. Visit this Northern Virginia winery to sample the wine, located in a 100 year old stone and wood dairy barn has been transformed into a rustically beautiful tasting room. On sunny days sit out on the back deck, patio, or the grounds overlooking the pond while you savor your glass of world-class wine.

When tasting the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, consider Winemaker Michael Shaps’ words:

“Our team is especially proud of this wine. It is a classic Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfectly balanced, and has mature tannins that are ripe but not overly extracted; and it has nice acidity.”



A panel of 40 wine experts from around the world judged 102 Virginia wines in this year’s Governor’s Cup Case, choosing the 12 best red and white wines as Governor’s Case winners.


Barboursville Vineyards—Barboursville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2013 Paxxito

Barboursville Vineyards

The 18th century estate at Barboursville Vineyards is surrounded by rolling hills blanketed in vines. Sit on the stone wall outside the tasting room on a nice day or take a seat at the patio area off the parking lot. During the week, taste the wines available at Library 1821, or on weekends, the larger Tuscan Tasting Room provides distinct tasting stations where you can try all of the 20+ wines available. In addition to the tasting rooms, Barboursville Vineyards also has a restaurant and inn on-site. And don’t miss the Barboursville Ruins just across the street from the winery, one of Jefferson’s impressive architectural endeavors.


Breaux Vineyards—Purcellville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2012 Meritage

Breaux Vineyards

Over 100 acres of vines surround the 404-acre estate of Breaux Vineyards, just an hour drive from DC and 20 minutes from Leesburg. The Mediterranean-style tasting room has a stone fireplace to keep you warm during the winter months, but if the weather is nice, head outside to enjoy the wines with panoramic views of the Short Hill and Blue Ridge Mountains.


King Family Vineyards—Crozet                

Governor’s Case Winners: 2014 Loreley & 2014 Petit Verdot

King Family Vineyards is a family-owned and operated boutique winery located in Crozet, just fifteen minutes from Charlottesville at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Virginia Tourism Corporation,

Only 15 minutes west of Charlottesville, King Family Vineyards is conveniently situated close to the excellent restaurants and entertainment of the region, as well as just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. The covered veranda, expansive lawn, and brick patio provide plenty of options for outdoor tasting, and with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop, you’ll definitely want to sit outside. The tasting room has a warm stone fireplace for cold weather, with a selection of gourmet cheeses, meats, and spreads available to top their freshly baked French breads and crackers. On Sundays in May through October, the vineyard hosts Roseland Polo matches where you can enjoy your wine during the entertainment.


Veritas Vineyard and Winery—Afton

Governor’s Case Winners: 2014 Petit Manseng & 2014 Petit Verdot Paul Shaffer 6th Edition

Veritas Vineyard Winery

Veritas Vineyard and Winery is one of the most stunning wineries in Virginia, with a front-row view of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains from the back lawn. The winery has a barn-style tasting room that lends a cozy vibe, complete with a stone fireplace surrounded by couches that invites you to get comfortable as you sip on some of the finest wines in Virginia. From spring to fall, the vineyards often books wedding parties on the weekends that wish to say “I Do” in an unforgettably romantic location.


Ingleside Vineyards—Oak Grove

Governor’s Case Winner: 2014 Petit Verdot

Among the oldest and largest wineries in Virginia, Ingleside Vineyards resides on the Northern Neck peninsula, growing more than 50 acres of vines and producing over 20 wines. For history lovers, the winery is just down the road from the birthplaces of George Washington and James Monroe, as well as Stratford Hall, the home of Robert E. Lee. Bring a picnic blanket and savor the delicious wines available at Ingleside in the European-style courtyard centered around the tranquil fountain.


Jefferson Vineyards—Charlottesville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2014 Petit Verdot

Jefferson Vineyards

Stop by Jefferson Vineyards for a tasting and grab a spot on the spacious lawn, perfect for setting up a picnic to go along with your refreshing wine selection. On the hottest days, the venue’s shady deck area provides a cooler spot to sip. The winery sits at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is about a mile away from historic destinations like Monticello and Ash Lawn Highland. Sandwiches from the winery’s neighbor, SALT, pair well with the wines, or pick from the winery’s lighter fare like the locally sourced chocolates and charcuterie items sold inside the tasting room.


Valley Road Vineyards—Afton

Governor’s Case Winner: 2014 Petit Verdot

At the gateway of the scenic Rockfish Valley just off Route 151, Valley Road Vineyards created their tasting room from a renovated barn structure that offers pristine patio views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pair your wine tasting with a cheese plate from Flora Artisanal Cheeses and seasonal menu items like savory pot pies sourced from Charlottesville’s The Pie Chest during winter months.


Michael Shaps Wineworks—Charlottesville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2014 Meritage

michael shaps

Michael Shaps Wineworks is nestled in the woods just south of Charlottesville with a combined tasting room and barrel room to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process. The winery has gained popularity in the Charlottesville area and has recently opened a second tasting room, Wineworks Extended, on Avon Street in Charlottesville.


Horton Vineyards—Gordonsville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2015 Viognier

Horton Vineyards

The winemakers at Horton Vineyards have been producing wines since the early 1990s in the converted historic stone building in the Gordonsville countryside. This old world winery won more than 100 medals in 2002 alone, and today, they offer an impressive selection of 40+ wines for visitors to the tasting room.


Looking for more prize-winning Virginia wines? Check out the full list of gold, silver, and bronze winners in this year’s Governor’s Cup Awards, as well as winners from previous years.


© pkeppel for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2017. |

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Patricia Keppel

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!