Old Town Crier

Keswick Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve Awarded 2016 Governor’s Cup

Keswick Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve Awarded 2016 Governor’s Cup


Governor Terry McAuliffe awarded the 2016 Virginia Wineries Association’s (VWA) Governor’s Cup to Keswick Vineyards for its 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve, a pure Cabernet Franc varietal. This award marks the second Governor’s Cup for Keswick, which received the first in 2009 for its 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Governor’s Cup was awarded Monday evening, February 22 at the Hotel John Marshall in Richmond.

Overlooking Reception at John Marshall Hotel, Richmond. Photo courtesy of Dan Currier.

Keswick Vineyards Winemaker Stephen Barnard and owners, Al and Cindy Schornberg, accepted the award. In making the presentation, the Governor said, “Their work at Keswick Vineyards embodies those characteristics that are imperative for Virginia farmers and winemakers: an entrepreneurial spirit, a drive to excel, a healthy tolerance for risk and a desire to see what Virginia’s land and terroir can do.”

Wine Industry Experiences Tremendous Growth

The Governor continued, “It is no secret that the Commonwealth’s wine industry has experienced tremendous growth both in quality and quantity in recent years. Such growth has an enormous impact on Virginia in terms of economic development and job creation, especially in rural areas, and the craft beverage industry as a whole is playing a key role in helping build the new Virginia economy.”

Cindy & Al Schornberg of Keswick Vineyards, 2016 Governor’s Cup Winner. Photo courtesy of Dan Currier.

The Keswick 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve is a 100% varietal Cabernet Franc. According to the winemaker’s tasting notes, “this wine is light and graceful, but also powerful – dense with black pepper and exotic spices that turn into darker fruits as the wine is aerated. The wood tannins are firm, yet are well balanced with ample acidity and fruit. The palate is savory with accenting mocha, brambleberry, and bitter chocolate tones that are punctuated with a long finish.”

Turning a Dream into Reality

“It has always been my dream to make a great red wine from the soils of Virginia,” said Al Schornberg in accepting the Governor’s Cup. I am grateful for our team at Keswick Vineyards, our son-in-law and winemaker Stephen Barnard, and the entire wine community in Virginia for turning my dream into reality.”

According to the winemaker, The 2014 vintage will stand out in the years to come, I believe, as one of Virginia’s finest. With clean ripe fruit harvested, our intention was to stand back and let the soul of the vineyard shine through in the wine. As we taste the wines developing in bottle, I am happy that we achieved what we set out to do. These wines are authentic and communicate the spirit of our winery, vineyard, and souls.”

Governor Terry McAuliffe with Keswick Owner Al Schornberg (l) and Winemaker Stephen Barnard. Photo courtesy of Dan Currier.

Number of Virginia Wineries Reaches 275

The development of Virginia’s wine industry over the last decade has made it one of the fastest growing sectors of Virginia’s agricultural economy. Today, there are more than 275 wineries in Virginia and 360 vineyards that cultivate more than 3,500 acres of grapes. The Governor’s Cup winners show that advancements in Virginia wine quality are helping to grow the industry’s footprint in the Commonwealth and its reputation in the global marketplace.”

The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was conducted over four weeks of preliminary tastings at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C in January. The final round of tastings was held in Richmond in early February. The Governor’s Cup award winner was selected from the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case, a selection of the top 12 scoring wines chosen from 432 entries of both red and white wines, from 95 wineries. The esteemed panel of judges, including Jay Youmans, one of only 138 Masters of Wine (MW) in the U.S. had the difficult task of ranking each wine.

2016 Governor’s Cup Case

In addition to Keswick Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve, the other 11 wines included in the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case are:

Barboursville Vineyards, 2014 Vermentino

Bluestone Vineyard, 2014 Chardonnay

Cardinal Point Winery, 2014 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc

Fabbioli Cellars, 2012, Cabernet Franc