Governor Hickenlooper to Announce the 2016 Governor's Cup Wine Competition Winners at the 3rd Annual Governor's Cup Tasting Event on August 4

Share Article

18 Winning Colorado Wines to be Paired with Local Chef Creations at History Colorado Center

News Image
"The quality of the Colorado wines continues to improve and impress me immensely.” —Warren Winiarski, founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Governor's Cup judge.

The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB), part of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, proudly announces 18 Colorado wines will comprise the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case. Governor Hickenlooper will officially announce the winning wines from the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition at a public tasting event taking place on the evening of August 4th at the Location and information for the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver. This event will be the first and only opportunity for the public to try each of the award winning wines at the same time. This year’s competition drew 250+ entries from 34 local wineries, and was judged by a panel of sommeliers, winemakers, writers, and wine experts from around the country.

"The Colorado wine industry continues to grow and shine a light on our world-class wineries from all over the state," said Gov. John Hickenlooper. "As the industry expands, we look forward to sharing with our in-state and out-of-state visitors the beauty of Colorado wine."

After a spirited discussion, the judges determined the quality of the wines were so high that they needed to include 18 wines in the Governor’s Cup Case – 12 grape wines and 6 cider, mead and fruit wines – dividing them into two distinct categories. This year Bookcliff Vineyards’ 2013 Ensemble was awarded the Best of Show for grape wines and Meadery of the Rockies’ Strawberry Honey Wine was awarded Best of Show for cider, mead and fruit wines.

“We’re thrilled to learn that our Ensemble won Best of Show,” expressed John Garlich owner and winemaker at Bookcliff Vineyards. “We are humbled that three of our wines earned inclusion in the Governor’s Cup Case” Garlich added. Bookcliff Vineyards, located in Boulder, CO, is a family-owned, estate winery named for the Book Cliffs overlooking their estate vineyard in Palisade, CO.

Again this year, the judges determined that the quality of the state’s cider, mead and fruit wines were so exceptional that they deserved their own Governor’s Cup Case. “Colorado’s ciders, meads and fruit wines are not only growing in popularity among consumers, they are also garnering the respect they deserve in the pantheon of award-winning beverages,” said Glenn Foster, owner and founding winemaker at Meadery of the Rockies in Palisade, CO. “This Strawberry Melomel was the best example of the style that I have ever tasted in my life,” said judge Glenn Exline, judge director of the Mazer Cup International Mead Competition.

The August 4th Governor’s Cup Tasting event is open to the public and will feature the top 18 Governor’s Cup Colorado wines, plus small plate pairings from locally sourced ingredients created by many notable Colorado chefs including Elise Wiggins of Cattivella, Ben Davis of Tony's Market and Mark Reggiannini of Café Marmotte, all of Denver. General Admission tickets are $45 and include entry at 7:30pm. VIP Experience tickets are $90 and include early access at 6:30pm to taste the previous year’s winners with paired menu samples, plus an intimate food & wine pairing experience with seating in Café Rendezvous, featuring additional food prepared by Chef Samir Mohammad.

Tickets can be purchased at

Each year, the judges note the rise in the quality of Colorado wines and are impressed by the skill of the wine making. This year a panel of 16 high profile judges made their selections based on a unique 10-point scale – in conjunction with the judges’ consensus for determining the winning medals. Full results will be published on

“This is the third year I’ve judged at this competition and the quality of the Colorado wines continue to improve and impress me immensely,” said judge and notable winemaker, Warren Winiarski, founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley, California. Winiarksi made the 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon which won the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting.

The results of the Paris tasting revolutionized the wine world and resulted in American wine being accepted as high quality on par with classic European regions. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris tasting, the judges also tasted a selection of Colorado wines blind alongside a selection French and California benchmark wines from producers in the original Paris tasting. Two of the top four Bordeaux-style red wines and two of the top five Chardonnay were made in Colorado with Colorado fruit – though one of the benchmark California bottles was removed due to cork taint. The judges noted that the results of this tasting show Colorado produces high quality wine on par with some of the world’s most respected regions and wineries.


(Top 12 scoring grape wines, all made from primarily Colorado grapes)
Bookcliff Vineyards (Boulder) - 2013 Ensemble, Colorado BEST IN SHOW
Bookcliff Vineyards (Boulder) – 2013 Cabernet Franc Reserve, Grand Valley AVA
Bookcliff Vineyards (Boulder) – 2014 Syrah, Colorado
Colorado Cellars (Palisade) – 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Valley
Fox Fire Farms (Ignacio)—2015 Traminette, Colorado
Kingman Estates Winery (Denver) – 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Colorado
Plum Creek Cellars (Palisade)—2015 Dry Riesling, Grand Valley AVA
Red Fox Cellars (Palisade)—2015 Tempranillo "Long Day" Rosé, Grand Valley AVA
Snow Peaks Winery (Estes Park) - 2013 Petit Verdot, Grand Valley AVA
Whitewater Hill Vineyards (Grand Junction) – 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Valley AVA
Whitewater Hill Vineyards (Grand Junction) – 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Grand Valley AVA
Whitewater Hill Vineyards (Grand Junction) – 2014 Shiraz, Grand Valley AVA

(Top ciders, meads and fruit wines)
Colorado Cider Company (Denver) - Radl'ah (cider with lemongrass and lemon balm)
Redstone Meadery (Boulder) - Passion Fruit Nectar Mead
Meadery of the Rockies (Palisade) - Strawberry Honey Wine BEST IN SHOW
Meadery of the Rockies (Palisade) - Chocolate Cherry Honey
Colorado Cellars (Rocky Mountain Vineyards): Elderberry Wine
Colorado Cellars (Rocky Mountain Vineyards): Spiced Nektar Mead    

About the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board
The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB) is a part of the Colorado Department of Agriculture dedicated to promoting and furthering the development of Colorado’s grape growers and vintners. The CWIDB supports the efforts of more than 140 wineries throughout the state, producing an increasing array of premium-quality wines. For additional information, visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Courtney Lis
Follow >
Visit website