The 20th Annual Finger Lakes International Wine & Spirits Competition has come to a close and we are overjoyed with the support that we received from the wineries, distilleries and cideries that entered the competition. There were some setbacks in the beginning due to COVID-19, but we are so happy that we were able to still have the competition. It was rescheduled from April to July, the venue was changed, and the number of judges and volunteers present at the competition was decreased.
The wine portion of the competition was held at the Camp Good Days Recreational Facility on Keuka Lake from July 14-16 and the spirits portion of the competition was held at the Camp Good Days Headquarters in Mendon, NY from July 20-21.
In order to make the competition run smoothly and safely, many changes had to be made. Listed below are some examples of the changes the FLIWC Committee made, led by Head Judge, Bob Madill and Event Director, Jamie Varble:
- It was required that all judges and volunteers lived within a region of low infection rate, and had to drive to the venue, not fly.
- A daily health screening was required before entry to the facility.
- Masks were always required when not seated, eating or drinking.
- Activity workflows and one-way travel lanes were created that completely separated the handling of clean and used items.
- Standard commercial kitchen practices were implemented.
- The number of people present was reduced as much as possible by doing a lot of the flighting work prior to the competition.
- There were paired tables for each panel.
- The movement was controlled in the judging venue so that interactions between tables were minimized if not completely prevented.
- Separate venues and staff/volunteer assignments were established for each major function.
This year, there were over 2,000 entries from 12 countries, 34 states and 4 Canadian provinces. There were entries from the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, and Spain. While the number of entries was less than previous years, it still showcases the wonderful support from all who entered.
There were 15 wine judges and 6 spirit judges present along with 30 staff and volunteers. Overall, the judges awarded 74 double gold medals, 27 gold medals, 540 silver medals, and 807 bronze medals. There were also awards given for “Best Of” categories for wines and spirits.
The “Best Of” winners for wine this year are:
Best Riesling: Riesling from Idol Ridge Winery in New York, USA
Best Ice Wine: Testa 2017 Vidal Icewine from Willow Springs Winery in Canada
Best Sparkling Wine: Sparkling Pointe Brut Seduction 2008 from Sparkling Pointe in New York, USA
Best Fruit Wine: Visnove Vino 2019 from Vinarstvo Miluron in Slovakia
Best Merlot: Chateau Valtice Merlot Premium Collection 2017 from Chateau Valtice in the Czech Republic
Best Cabernet Franc: Cabernet Franc 2018 from Snowy Peaks Winery in Colorado, USA
Best Cabernet Sauvignon: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Plagido’s Winery in New Jersey, USA
Best Chardonnay: Orpailleur Chardonnay from Vignoble de l’Orpailleur in Canada
The “Best Of” winners for spirits are:
Best Brandy: Discord Apple Brandy from Black Ring Distillery in Washington, USA
Best Vodka: Recipe 21 Vodka from ROC House Brands in New York, USA
Best Whiskey: Cask & Crew Rye Whiskey from ROC House Brands in New York, USA
Best Bourbon: Single Barrel American Whiskey from Swede Hill Distilling in Washington, USA
Best Gin: GinWillis Gin from Glencoe Distillery in New Mexico, USA
Best Liqueur: Sacred Grounds from Glencoe Distillery in New Mexico, USA
Best Rum: Auténtico Nativo 15 Year Aged Rum from ROC House Brands in Panama
Best Flavored Whiskey: Rattlesnake Rosie’s Maple Bacon Whiskey from Iron Smoke Distillery in New York, USA
Usually, the medal-winning wines and spirits are later auctioned off at the Camp Good Days Wine Auction Dinner which, in the past, has been held in November with hundreds of attendees. This year, the event will be re-imagined as an online auction. All proceeds from the competition and following wine auction benefit the children and families impacted by cancer and sickle cell anemia at Camp Good Days & Special Times.
Thank you again to everyone who helped make the 20th Anniversary year of the Finger Lakes International Wine & Spirits Competition possible; and congratulations to all the medal winners!