Richmond, VA (Feb. 25, 2020) – 868 Estate Vineyards won Virginia’s top wine honor on Tuesday evening when Governor Ralph Northam awarded the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup® for the vineyard’s 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito. With more than 530 wines submitted to this year’s competition, the 868 Passito is joined by 11 other top-scoring, gold medal winners to round out the Governor’s Cup Case®.
“We started this journey just over eight years ago with a desire to build a premium vineyard and winery in Northern Virginia,” said Peter Deliso, Founder and Chairman of 868 Estate Vineyards. “It’s a pleasure to see our team win such a prestigious award and receive recognition for their hard work, creativity, and perseverance.”
The 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito is the first wine made from 100% Loudoun County fruit to win Virginia’s top wine award, and the first time in 15 years that a dessert wine has won the Governor’s Cup®. Passito is an Italian word for wines made by the appassimento process where grapes are partially dried on straw mats or pallets to concentrate the grapes’ flavors and sweetness prior to vinification. The 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito grapes were dried for one month to bring the sugar concentration over 32%. Sweet and rich with intense honey, pineapple, and tropical fruit flavors, the Vidal Blanc Passito pairs seamlessly with apple tart and intensely flavored cheeses.
“The 2017 Passito was the culmination of a concerted winemaking effort,” says 868 Estate Vineyard’s Co-Founder and Winemaker, Carl DiManno. “I take a very hands-on approach in the winery, and a lot of love and hard work went into this wine, but it was well worth it. I am thrilled that Loudoun’s wines are getting the recognition that they deserve.”
The entire team at 868 Estate Vineyards is very proud of this accomplishment, and excited to continue making high-quality Virginia wine. “We have worked hard to bring together quality artisans in wine, food, art, and music,” says Deliso. “This award is a statement to our winemaking, but you’ll find this same dedication in our restaurant, art program, concert series, and music program. To have the full experience, you should visit 868 and see how it all comes together in a welcoming environment.”