Pennsylvania winery owners take pride in Farm Show medal wins
By Sue Gleiter | firstname.lastname@example.org
04, 2013 at 6:30 AM, updated January 04, 2013 at 7:51 AM Print
It is one
thing to receive recognition from “Wine Spectator” or elite wine critics such
as Robert Parker.
to be awarded a best of show Governor’s Cup for the top wine in the state at
the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
judging jams, Christmas trees, chocolate cakes and livestock, judges also
scrutinize the state’s wines in search of the best during the nine-day
agricultural event held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center
but it’s rare for a state winery to capture a national or international wine
award. So, receiving a state award is considered a high honor. It also gives
winemakers bragging rights and a sense of satisfaction.
“It lets you
know how you are doing with all of your peers if you are winning medals. When
you go into a competition with all of your peers, and you win just as many
medals as your peers, it lets you know you are on the right track,” said Scott
Bubb, winemaker/owner of Seven Mountains Wine Cellars in Spring Mills.
Mountains is only four years old but has secured dozens of farm show wins. Its
list includes an assortment of double gold, gold, silver and bronze medals, as
well as back to back Governor’s Cups in 2011 and 2012 for its Vidal Ice Wine
and a Governor’s Cup in 2011 for a cranberry wine.
are displayed inside the wine shop, and Seven Mountains advertises its
award-winning wines on its website. Bubb has purchased stickers to adhere to
the winning bottles as part of marketing efforts.
there’s the buzz created from those medal wins. Typically, the week after farm
show, Bubb said Seven Mountains experiences an uptick in business.
lot of pride that goes into creating a good bottle of wine. They get pretty
good at putting their name on the map when they do well,” said Jim Sharp, a
show manager who oversees the farm show’s competitive agricultural events.
36 wineries entered about 265 varieties of wine from fruit to dry wines.
Judging is handled before the farm show by Rutgers University in New Jersey and
the University of Maryland.
be handed out 2 p.m. Saturday in a ceremony at the farm show complex. The
competition has come a long way since its start 17 years ago.
At first, it
was hard to convince wineries to think of the farm show as a suitable venue.
About a dozen wineries competed the second year.
“Many of the wineries kind of thought farm
show and ‘Oh boy that doesn’t have to do with wine?’ A lot of people didn’t
understand it’s a consumer show more than anything else,” said Bob Mazza, owner
of Mazza Vineyards near Erie.
awards are just completely cherished by the wineries," said Jennifer
Eckinger, executive director of the Pennsylvania Winery Association.
owners used to attending wine festivals soon realized the farm show, with its
high visibility, is the ideal place to market wines. Wineries also provide
samples and sell bottles of their wines throughout the week at a booth located
in the Main Hall near the butter sculpture.
dozen wineries will participate this year. Each winery will spend two days at
the farm show.
A portion of
the proceeds from sales of the wines is donated to the farm show scholarship
foundation. This year, to add an extra element, the Pennsylvania Association
for Sustainable Agriculture will bring in Pennsylvania cheesemakers to pair
cheese with the wines.
winery owners, the crowds and dust of the farm show is worth the effort. Wineries
can sell between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of product, Mazza said.
He has won
several awards for his wines at the farm show including three Governor’s Cups
but also enters his wines in other national competitions. He said winning helps
to market wines in restaurants and through the Pennsylvania Liquor Control
certainly a good pat on the back. It’s a reaffirmation of the fact you are
producing a good quality wine,” Mazza said.
IF YOU GO:
The 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show runs Jan. 5-12 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show
Complex and Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg. Admission is free,
but parking costs $10. More information: Farm Show home and www.farmshow.state.pa.us
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