Rich Harvest

Loudoun’s Wineries Deliver Wonder at This Year’s Loudoun Wine Awards

The Loudoun Wineries & Winegrowers Association (LWWA) celebrated its 40th year with a treasure trove of award-winning wines at their 8th annual Wine Awards Dinner October 20th. The county now boasts 50 wineries; more than 113 wines were submitted for consideration and 21 bottles were awarded gold medals. The golds were concentrated at just 14 wineries, but an additional 14 wineries won silver medals – many of them more than one of each.

There are, in short, a plethora of great choices this year to grace your holiday table. Besides the best dozen wines of the year, the association also crowned Lew Parker, owner and winemaker at Willowcroft Farm Vineyards the Winemaker of the Year; Severino Maya Garcia, owner of Maya Vineyard Services, Winegrower of the Year and Teri Riggs, owner of Forever Farm and Vineyard Wine Ambassador of the Year. That only scratches the surface of the contributions these three have made to the wine industry in Loudoun County, of course – Lew Parker, for example, was the first, post Prohibition, to grow grapes for winemaking in the county, planting in 1981.

Since then, a host of young and exciting relative newcomers have made their mark, notably Sarah and Nick Walsh, whose wines notched a total of six combined golds and silvers and the best Merlot in the county; October One Vineyard with a pair of gold medals, both of them best in class for the county; and The Wine Reserve at Waterford, with just seven vintages under its belt, which took two golds, one of which – the Gila Petit Verdot – was judged best in show.

What was crystal clear in so many cases was the strong role that family plays in creating and sustaining the viticulture of Loudoun County. There were multiple examples of “next generation” winemakers learning the craft from their elders, like Mitchell Baki, assistant winemaker to and nephew of Kerem Baki, the winemaker at Hillsborough Vineyards and this year’s president of the LWWA. This year Kerem also was appointed to the Wine Board by Virginia Gov. Younkin. October One celebrates the owners’, Bob and Loree Rupy Loree, wedding anniversary. The couple last year opened a downtown Leesburg tasting shop where many of the award-winning wines may be found.

To track down the others all in one spot, is helpful, as is the following list of best-in-class awards.

 ·      Best Hybrid White: 50 West Vineyards, 2022 Vidal Blanc

·       Best White Vinifera: Zephaniah Farm Vineyard 2020 Adeline

·       Best Albariño: October One Vineyard 2022 Albariño

·       Best Chardonnay: Williams Gap Vineyard, 2022 Black Label Chardonnay

·       Best Sauvignon Blanc: Walsh Family Wine 2022 Bethany Ridge Sauvignon Blanc

·       Best Viognier: October One Vineyard 2022 Stainless Viognier

·      Best Petit Manseng: Williams Gap Vineyard 2022 Petit Manseng

·       Best Rosé: Willowcroft Farm Vineyard 2022 Rosé of Sharon

·       Best Hybrid Red: Zephaniah Farm Vineyard 2019 Three Captain’s Red Blend

·       Best Red Vinifera: Hillsborough Vineyards 2021 Ruby

·       Best Cabernet Franc: Fabbioli Cellars 2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve

·       Best Merlot: Walsh Family Wines 2019 Russ Mountain Merlot

·       Best Petit Verdot: The Wine Reserve at Waterford 2021 Gila

·       Best Bordeaux Red Blend: Iron Will Winery 2020 Vitraux

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also note that LWWA does more than hand out awards. The LWWA, representing nearly 50 wineries in the county besides the growers, enables the success of the Loudoun County wine industry by promoting agriculture, social stewardship and by facilitating marketing, legislation, education, and communications between member wineries, winegrowers and their partners. Its annual dinner also raises money for its Harvest Kindness initiative to support winegrowers and makers in need. See

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