17th Annual Finger Lakes International Wine Competition a Great Success

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This past weekend, the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition went very well.  There was a wonderful turnout from the judges, great cooperation among the volunteers, and fantastic wines from all over the world.  Below are the final stats and some of the results from the competition.  You can find the entire list of results on the FLIWC website: www.fliwc-cgd.com.  Thank you to everyone who participated, and we hope everyone had a wonderful time! We will see you all next year!

Total Wines Judged: 3077

Total Wineries: 621

Total Countries Entered: 16

From: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Mexico, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States

Total Judges: 52

From: Argentina, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Slovenia, United States

Total Medals: Double Gold – 88, Gold – 228, Silver – 1188, Bronze – 1099

Best Of Categories:

Best Sparkling  – Blanc de Blanc  NV Gloria Ferrer Winery California, United States

Raul Castellani Award – Best South American Wine  – Mora Negra  2013 Finca Las Moras, Argentina

John Rose Award – Best Riesling – McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2009 Australian Vintage Ltd., Australia

Best Merlot  – Horse Heaven Hills Merlot  2014 Mercer Estates Winery, Washington, United States

Best Icewine  – De Sousa Vidal Icewine 2014 Diamond Estates Winery, Ontario, Canada

Best Fruit Wine  – Yogi Berry Blackberry NV Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery, Kansas, United States

Best Chardonnay – Kosut Chardonnay Selection 2015   Rodinné vinařství Košut s.r.o., Czech Republic

Best Cabernet Sauvignon – SP1600 Limited Edition 2013 RD Winery, California, United States

Best Cabernet Franc – Cabernet Franc Reserve 2014 Penns Woods Winery, Pennsylvania, United States

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Invaluable Volunteers

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC) is this upcoming weekend!  Over the course of the weekend, there will be over 200 volunteers who dedicate their time to making this competition possible and making sure that it runs smoothly.  Volunteers will wash glasses, pour the wine, and transport the wine to the judges.  One of these volunteers, Sister Francella Quinn from the Sisters of Saint Joseph, has been involved with the competition since it began.

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Since she started volunteering for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition 16 years ago, she has done every job from glass washing to wine pouring to serving the judges.  She likes seeing the returning judges who come back every year and is also eager to meet some of the new judges.  She is excited to be a part of an event that helps to make sure that the children of Camp Good Days can continue to come to camp free of charge.

Sister Francella Quinn started her involvement with Camp Good Days after her sister and brother in law became involved.  At the time when they began volunteering, she was a principal in the Rochester Diocese and was not able to be involved with camp, but after, she helped the spiritual leader at camp at the time, Father David Ambuske.  After he passed away, she assumed the responsibility of being the sole spiritual leader—leading prayers during the summer camping sessions and fundraisers throughout the year, leading the memorial service at camp, and helping out wherever she is needed.  She likes being able to be with the children and help them with anything they are struggling with.

One of her favorite memories of camp is when children come up to her and say, “You look like my grandma!” She also loves when she conducts the memorial service at camp in the camp chapel, and children come up and ask to help.  “It is the greatest feeling because it is a celebration of life, and that is what is most important to the children and that is what matters,” she said.

Sister Francella Quinn has volunteered at Camp Good Days for over 30 years.  She is an invaluable addition to the Camp Good Days family, and is a key volunteer in helping the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition be a success every single year.

Support from Local Wineries

Wineries from all over the world enter their wines in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition each year, but the Finger Lakes wineries have a special place in the hearts of those at Camp Good Days with their never-ending support.  David Peterson, the President and Co-Owner of Swedish Hill, Goose Watch, and Penguin Bay Wineries in the Finger Lakes region, has been entering wines since the first year of the competition.

“I grew up working in my family’s vineyard, which is now the site of Swedish Hill,”  David said.  “At that time, there was no vision of a winery; my dad just loved the grape growing part.  I was interested in plants in general, which led to me majoring in Plant Science at Cornell University.  This led me to get more interested in the science of growing and led to getting a MS and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, specializing in grapes while getting my Ph.D.  I got involved in a graduate student and faculty wine tasting group during that time.  This was in the early 1980’s when the small farm winery movement was just getting started in the Finger Lakes.  I talked my Mom and Dad into starting a winery while I was in graduate school, although I moved out of the area to work in grape and wine research and extension in Missouri and later came back to New York in a similar role for Cornell in the Finger Lakes.  In 1996, I joined the family winery, Swedish Hill, and helped to open our second winery, Goose Watch, in 1997.”

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What is your history with the FLIWC?

We have entered the FLIWC since its inception.  FLIWC is a nice competition for us to enter as it is local, yet international in scope.  Being local, it also gets a lot of recognition and press in the Rochester market.  As soon as the results are released, we see a bump in sales in Rochester stores of any of our wines that win gold medals.  It also supports a great local cause.

What is your role at Swedish Hill, Goose Watch, and Penguin Bay?

My wife Jean and I now own and operate the 3 wineries, so we wear many hats.  My area is oversight of the winegrowing and winemaking, although we have very good employees who are involved in managing those areas.  I am very involved in decisions regarding planting of new varieties, ideas for new products, and I also do all of our grape contracting with about 15 different growers.  This involves visiting each of these contract growers multiple times each year and I work with the winemakers on making harvest timing decisions.  In addition, I oversee our sales away from our tasting rooms, in other words, the arrangements with our distributors and ultimately wine shops and restaurants.  My wife more directly runs our office and oversees the tastings room, although there is always overlap.  At times, we are involved in every aspect of the business.

What do you like about working with wine?

To me, wine is more interesting than many products as it’s not so much a commodity as most things that people produce.  There are so many factors that go into producing it—soil, grape variety, weather, human interaction in both the vineyard and the winery—these factors have such a profound influence on the final product.  Wine is also something that brings so much enjoyment and entertainment to people.

Do you have a special memory from a past FLIWC?

Well, we have won a number of awards over the years.  I think the very first year we were the only double gold medal winner for Riesling, which is a big deal considering the quality of the local Rieslings.

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition continues to grow each year, and so far this year, about 10% of the wineries that have entered are new wineries!  The support of both new wineries, and long-time supporters like Swedish Hill, Goose Watch, and Penguin Bay help to ensure the success of the competition, and the longevity of Camp Good Days.