September 5, 2012– To enter or not to enter, that is the question. There are dozens of wine competitions all over America and all over the world. We receive invitations to enter them every week. But what does a little boutique winery in the Finger Lakes have to gain from entering?
Competitions usually charge $50-$100 per entry, plus you have to ship the wines to them. If you win, you could argue that the entry fee will be dwarfed by the increase in sales. But if you sell 100% of your wines within NY state, does it do any good to win a competition in California? Most competition solicitations we receive go into the recycle bin.
There is one competition that we will probably always enter– the New York Wine & Food Classic. Known as the “Oscars” of New York wine, virtually every good wine produced in NY gets entered. The grand prize is the Governor’s Cup, which almost guarantees a sell-out of said wine in a few weeks. People in New York pay attention to the results.
When I worked at the NY Wine & Culinary Center (before owning Silver Thread) I served as a judge at the competition each year, so I’m very familiar with it. The other judges are true wine experts with substantial experience. One year while I was pregnant, I volunteered to work in the back room in lieu of judging. Being able to see all of the entries lined up in the back room, I realized how good of a competition it was– nearly all of the wineries from all corners of the state were entered.
Needless to say, Silver Thread entered all of its 2011 wines in the NY Wine & Food Classic. Our wines fared very well:
Good Earth White 2011— gold medal and Best Vinifera/hybrid Blend
Blackbird 2011— gold medal
Pinot Noir 2011, Dry Riesling 2011 & Riesling “STV Estate Vineyard” 2011— silver medals
Semi-dry Riesling 2011, Riesling “Doyle East Seneca Vineyard” 2011 & Riesling “Randolph O’Neill Vineyard” 2011— bronze medals
We still have a lot of years ahead of us, so maybe a Governor’s Cup will be in the cards some day! In the meantime, we’re thrilled to land on the Best of Class list with our very first vintage at Silver Thread!