River City Vignoles Wins 2012 Indy Int’l Wine Competition
The first non vinifera wine won Wine of the Year at the 2012 Indy International Wine Competition. River City Winery of New Albany, Indiana took the top prize for its 2011 Vignoles at the largest independent and scientifically organized wine competition in America. “This award is huge for the Midwest wine industry,” said Gary Humphrey owner and winemaker at River City Winery. “The award also vindicates all of our hard work; we always push to make the best wine, but the odds of winning a major competition like Indy International are long.”
That River City Winery Vignoles beat 2,500 wines from 41 states and 12 countries on August 3rd at the Purdue University Union is remarkable. What’s equally remarkable is that the award-winning Vignoles was made from fruit harvested from three-year old vines. “It was the first harvest year for our Vignoles and that may have made the difference,” Humphrey said. He also said that keeping the wine cold all the way from fermentation to the tasting room is key to retaining the intense fruit flavors of Vignoles. River City chills its fruit immediately after picking then ferments its Vignoles in stainless tanks at about 60 F. The wine never exceeds 55 F at any point on the way to the tasting room, Humphrey said.
The Indy International Wine Competition is in its 21st year. River City Winery is the first Midwest winery since at least ’99 to win Wine of the Year. The judges for Indy International are from 19 states and Canada. Humphrey was somewhat surprised that a hybrid grape wine from a relatively new wine producing region, like Indiana, was so popular with a seasoned group of wine judges. “This shows that Indiana wineries can compete with anyone,” he said.
During the second day of the Competition, Jeanette Merritt, Marketing Director for the Indiana Wine Grape Council and one of the organizers of the Indy International, told Midwest Wine Press that the mission of the Indy International is to represent a broad array of wines. “What makes our contest special is that our judges understand the less familiar grapes,” she said.
Winning the Indy Competition had an immediate impact on sales at River City Winery. “We sold three cases of the Vignoles when we opened the door this morning,” Humphrey said. Today, he also raised the price on the Vignoles from the normal price of $18 to $27 in order to hopefully make the current supply last. “I would like as many people as possible to enjoy this wine,” Humphrey said.
Other regional wines were also surprise winners in the Indy International Red Vinifera category. Black Mesa Winery in New Mexico won Best of Class for Cab Sauv and The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in Colorado also won Best of Class for Syrah.
Midwestern “Best of Class” Winners, 2012 Indy International Wine Competition
(Where categories are not listed, varietal and category are the same.)
Indiana, River City Winery, Vignoles, 2011, WINE OF THE YEAR WINNER
Indiana, Brown County Winery, Concord , Vista Red Wine 2011,
Indiana, Brown County Winery, Berry, Blackberry, 2011
Indiana, Brown County Winery, Fruit Blend, Cranberry Apple 2011,
Indiana, Wildcat Creek Winery, Stueben, NV
Indiana, J&J Winery, Red American Varietal, EROS 2011, Fredonia
Indiana, River City Winery, Chardonel, Unoaked 2011
Indiana, Whyte Horse Winery, Seyval Blanc, NV
Indiana, Country Heritage Winery & Vineyard, Dry Style Honey Wines, Honey Dry, NV
Indiana, Wildcat Creek Winery, Traminette, NV
Indiana, Wildcat Creek Winery, Chambourcin, NV, INDIANA WINE OF THE YEAR
Indiana, French Lick Winery, Stone Fruit, Montmorency Cherry, NV
Indiana, Huber Orchard & Winery, Port Style Dessert, Knobstone, 2006, Chambourcin
Indiana, Huber Orchard & Winery, Carbonated Sparkling, Moscato 2011, Valvin Muscat
Illinois, Lavender Crest Winery, Chancellor, 1836 2011
Kentucky, Reid’s Livery Winery, Red American, Kentucky Table Wine 2011, Norton
Michigan, Lawton Ridge Winery, Late Harvest Vignoles 2011, Semi Dry White
Michigan, Burgdorf’s Winery, Vidal Blanc 2011
Michigan, Tabor Hill Winery, Gewurtztraminer 2001, Lake Michigan Shore, WHITE WINE OF THE YEAR
Michigan, St. Julian Winery, Riesling, Braganini 2011 Reserve
Michigan, Sandhill Crane Vineyards, Red French-American Varietal, Noiret, 2010
Minnesota, Cannon River Winery, Apple/Pear, Apple 2011
Missouri, Stone Hill Winery, Red French-American Blend, Steinberg Red, 2011, St. Vincent, Vidal Blanc
Missouri, St. James Winery, French-American Rose/Blush, Rose 2011, Rougeon
Nebraska, Miletta Vista Winery, White French-American Varietal, Edelweiss, 2011
Ohio, Breitenbach Wine Cellars, Inc., Sherry Style Dessert, Solara Cream, NV
Wisconsin, Wollersheim Winery, Marechal Foch, Domaine Du Sac, 2011
Wisconsin, River Bend Winery and Vineyard, Frontenac, Mangenta 2011
Wisconsin, White Winter Winery, Inc., Sparkling Honey Wines, My Fair Lady, NV
Wisconsin, River Bend Vineyard & Winery, White American Blend, Moonlight 2011, Catawba