2018 NC Fine Wines Competition Awards Results

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By Kimberly Williams, Weddings by the Vine and guest Triangle Around Town blogger

Website | www.weddingsbythevine.com

Kimberly Williams is the creator/owner of Weddings by the Vine based in Cary, NC. Weddings by the Vine is a boutique wedding planning service specializing in vineyard weddings here in North Carolina. 


I definitely had no idea what to expect last night and how the evening would unfold. With that being said, my excitement grew for the vineyards and for the industry as a whole. I’ve been promoting the North Carolina wine industry for a number of years, and it was very exciting to attend theFine Wines competition this year.

The event was capped at 250 guests and quickly sold out at the Millennium Center in Winston-Salem. As soon as we entered the grand lobby, glasses of 2017 Shelton Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc lined the bar and amuse -bouche was passed out – lobster vols au vents with fennel leek relish, corn pudding and chives. This paired very nicely with the Sauvignon Blanc, and I was already happy with my decision to join the celebration.

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I was able to chat with a few of the vineyard owners that I haven’t seen in a while and make a few new friends. What’s also exciting about this event is that the winners are announced to both the industry and public at the same time. Vineyard owners were anxious to hear the competition results but dinner was next, so they would have to wait a little longer.

As a planner, I was thrilled when right on schedule the doors to the Millennium Grand Ballroom were opened. We were seated at table No. 24 with three other couples who love wine and support the NC wine industry through wine clubs and visits. To our surprise, we were all members of two wine clubs and laughed when they were the same two for all the couples. We vowed to branch out more and share the love! 

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Winners from the 2017 NC Fine Wines case were invited to submit their wines and Chef Patrick Rafferty designed the menu specifically to complement those wines. I’m not a foodie and am actually a picky eater, but the pairings were lovely – both in taste and presentation. Chef Rafferty did an amazing job!

The amuse - bouche was a great pairing with the Sauvignon Blanc, so I was anxious to taste what was next.

The second course was winter squash salad with butternut-acorn, red kuri, goat cheese mousse, white wine poached pear, confit chestnut, honey poached cranberries and young mache – paired with Cellar 4201's Chardonnay (Oaked).

The third course included sous vide duck breast with red wine poached cherries, parsnip puree, salsify, baby carrot and cherry vincotto demi-glace – paired with the 2013 Grove Nebbiolo. This pairing was definitely the highlight for the majority at our table.

Fourth course – eye of bison ribeye with truffled fondant potatoes, bone marrow custard, white asparagus, cavolo nero, cipollini onion with sauce perigourdine – paired with the 2014 Jones von Drehle Petit Verdot.

Last and definitely worth it, was a dark chocolate torte with blood orange sorbet, pomegranate gelèe, piment d’Espelette and vanilla powder for dessert – this was paired with the 2015 Raffaldini Montepulciano Riserva. Another favorite of our group!

There were over 100 wines submitted for the competition including wines from six new wineries. There were several category types, and the wines were judged by advanced Sommeliers. This is the toughest state specific competition in the country as North Carolina continues to make great progress.

It was finally announcement time, and it was quick.They had been waiting long enough and the top twelve were announced altogether and gathered on stage – it was hard to keep up but all the details are below.

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The top award, Best in Show went to Sanctuary Vineyards for its Double Barrel 2015.

Beach trip is on the agenda now, as they are located at the Outer Banks.

The other award winners are:

  • Best Red Vinifera– Sanctuary Vineyards 2015 Double Barrel red blend

  • Best White Vinifera – Point Lookout Vineyards (Riesling 2016)

  • Best Dessert Wine –Surry Cellars (Iced Petit Manseng 2013)

  • Best Hybrid –JOLO Winery & Vineyards (Crimson Creek 2016)

  • Best Sparkling –Surry Cellars (Blue Ridge Bubbles 2016)

  • Best Rosé – Jones von Drehle Vineyards (Rosa Dia 2016)

NC Fine Wine Case Winners:

  • Laurel Gray Vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 2014)

  • Jones von Drehle Vineyards (Petit Verdot Estate 2014)

  • Parker-Binns Vineyard (Cabernet Franc 2015)

  • Raffaldini Vineyards (Vermentino Superiore 2016)

  • Jones von Drehle Vineyards (Petit Verdot Reserve 2012)

  • Midnight Magdalena (Merlot NV)

We managed to take a few more photos and then it was time to leave. Riedel wine glasses were given as we made our way out. So much excitement – it was definitely worth it – to be a part of the celebration! I’ll be scheduling a few trips to some of the winning vineyards this year that I haven’t already visited, and I hope that this blog may encourage you to plan some trips of your own.

Is it just a coincidence that today is #NationalDrinkWineDay?

Enjoy yours!

*The North Carolina Fine Wines Society was established as a nonprofit with two goals. The first goal is to promote the quality of North Carolina Fine Wines (Vinifera & Hybrids). The second goal is to fund a scholarship for NC students, attending NC Colleges or Universities, pursuing careers in Enology, Viticulture, and wine related Hospitality and Agritourism programs.