Cold Climate Wine Competition Winners 2013
2012 Little Iza wine, made from La Crescent grapes, from Millner Heritage Vineyard and Winery in Kimball, Minnesota, won the Minnesota Governor’s Cup trophy at the 2013 International Cold Climate Wine Competition (ICCWC), held this week at the University of Minnesota’s Conference Center in Saint Paul, MN. “Little Iza” is named after Izabella, the daughter of Winery owners Jon and Anna Millner.
According to Jon Millner, “Ninety-five percent of the credit for the Governor’s Cup trophy should be going to the grape breeder’s, grape growers, and my family.” The grapes used to make Millner’s award winning wine were grown by three separate growers; Barry Hart, Shannon Moerke, and John Goettl.
Millner also credits the late grape breeder Elmer Swenson for his work developing cold hardy wine grapes. “If Elmer Swenson didn’t do what he was doing, it is very likely I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, at least not in Minnesota. And furthermore, if the University of Minnesota wasn’t currently carrying the torch, the winemakers in Minnesota would not be anywhere near where we are as an industry,” Millner said.
in Minnesota would not be anywhere near where we are as an industry.
The Minnesota Governor’s Cup, a large silver ice bucket, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all Minnesota gold-winning wines. This is the fifth year the traveling trophy has been awarded.
La Crescent wine from Parallel 44 of Kewaunee Wisconsin won the “Best of Show” award for the top white wine. Other “Best of Show” awards went to the Shelburne Vineyard, Shelburne Vermont, for the third year in a row for their 2012 Marquette Reserve in the best red category and to the Illinois Sparkling Company, Peru Illinois, with their sparkling wine blend of La Crescent and Frontenac Gris in the best specialty wine category.
This year’s competition included nearly 300 wines from commercial wineries in 12 states and Canada. Awards were based on blind tastings by 21 expert judges, who include wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers and wine educators. Three-judge panels determined the initial awards, with the top-scoring Best of Show wines evaluated by seven-judge panels and all 21 judges for the Minnesota Governor’s Cup award.
The ICCWC is a partnership between the Minnesota Grape Growers Association and the University of Minnesota, which developed several of the cold-hardy grapes used to make the wines in the competition. It is coordinated by Gordon Rouse, AWS Certified Judge, of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association (MGGA), Gary Gardner, Professor of Horticultural Science in the University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and Katie Cook, University of Minnesota Enologist. Sponsors include the Minnesota Farm Winery Association and the Ramada Plaza Minneapolis Hotel.
The competition is open to commercial wineries meeting the criteria for cold-hardy grape or fruit content. In 2013, a total of 15 Gold, 55 Silver, and 93 Bronze medals were awarded. In addition, “Best of Show” designations were awarded to wines rated as the finest in various areas.
Top Medal Winners
Parallel 44 and Door 44 Wineries, WI: 1 Gold, LaCrescent; 11 total medals
Parley Lake Winery, MN : 3 Golds, Frontenac Gris, Marquette Limited Edition and Parley Vu Rose; 9 medals overall
Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery, MN, 1 Gold, MN Marquette Reserve, 7 medals overall
Galena Cellars, IL: 2 Gold, Apple Wine and Illinois Marquette, 4 medals overall
Millner Heritage Winery, MN: 1 Gold, Little Iza (La Crescent)
Illinois Sparking Company, IL: 3 Gold, Dollface Rose, Heirloom and Stereo
Shelburne Vineyard, VT: 1 Gold, Marquette Reserve, 4 medals overall
Wollersheim Winery, WI: 1 Gold, Prairie Blush, 2 medals overall