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Meet 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup Winner 868 Estate Vineyards

Updated: Feb 21

2020 Virginia Governor's Cup

Virginia is one of the top six states in the United States for wine production. For the past 38 years, the Virginia Wineries Association has run its prestigious Virginia Governor’s Cup competition. All wines submitted for consideration must be made from 100% Virginia fruit.

The highest 12 ranking wines are gold medal winners and earn a spot in the “Governor’s Case.” Only one wine each year wins the highest award, the “Governor’s Cup.”

The 2020 winner of the Virginia Governor’s Cup is 868 Estate Vineyards, which won with its Vidal Blanc Passito 2017. It beat out more than 530 entrants from 105 Virginia wineries.

This is the first time that a wine from Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County won the Governor’s Cup using both Loudoun County grapes and a Loudoun County winemaker.

Wine With Our Family recently had the opportunity to chat with Nancy Deliso, 868 Estate Vineyard’s marketing director, to learn more.

2020 Virginia Governor's Cup
Nancy and Peter Deliso

Wine With Our Family: Tell us a little about your winery.

Nancy Deliso: 868 Estate Vineyards has been open for eight years. It’s owned by three families in a partnership: my husband Peter and me, Wendy and Chris Charron, and Winemaker Carl DiManno and his wife Erin. We first bought 90 acres, and then purchased the 30-acre property next door, which included Glendale Restaurant. We went from a hobby winery to a cooler winery, restaurant, and catering business. It’s a great combination. We have 22 acres under vine, with 12 different varietals. We produce 3,500 cases of wine a year, all estate wine.

WWOF: Your Vidal Blanc Passito 2017 won the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup. Tell us about the wine.

ND: This was our first Passito. Carl has a lot of time by himself, so he has time for creativity. He used the Italian appassimento technique of laying the grapes out on straw mats or in bins and letting them raisin up for a month so that the sugars and flavors concentrate. The Passito’s sugar concentration is over 32%.

It’s not a sweet wine. It is your dessert. We recommend having it with bleu cheese, which is salty; apricots, which are tart; walnuts, for the umami; or with plain cheesecake.

WWOF: Did you expect the Passito to

win ?

2020 Virginia Governor's Cup
Winemaker Carl in the Barrel Room

ND: It was a surprise and a delight! It’s a white dessert wine, and that’s not [ordinarily the Virginia Governor’s Cup] thing. We submitted three wines to the competition; the other two won silver.