Aug 14, 2017
Each year, a group of experts gather at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel of the Finger Lakes Region to sample the best of the best in New York Wines. It's a competition called the New York Wine and Food Classic, sometimes referred to as “The Oscars” of New York Wine.
On August 8th& 9th, 21 judges sampled 915 wine, 27 hard cider and 16 craft spirit entries, and have the tough task of choosing which are their favorites in each category. The top prize at this competition is the prestigious Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice that recognizes the "Best of Show" or top prize of all the entries in the Classic.
The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is extremely proud to announce that this year's Governor's Cup winner is member winery, Buttonwood Grove. Their 2016 Riesling came out on top, among 958 entries. Winning this award is a big deal in the wine industry. With the Finger Lakes being known specifically for their Rieslings, this comes at no surprise. The kicker... Buttonwood is a small batch winery, so the award-winning wine is unfortunately in short supply!
The Buttonwood team has been striving to make a name for themselves. As Finger Lakes wine have grown in popularity, the wineries here have global competition, not just regional anymore. "There are so many wineries out there, and hearing that the industry's best say we make great wine... it's incredible. This (award) does more for our reputation than I can do in hours and hours of work. It’s amazing to gain this credibility. I think we've staked our claim in the wine-world. All of the advertising in the world is not as valuable as this accolade that tells everyone that we make fine premium estate wines,” said Marcia Klue, Buttonwood’s Marketing Coordinator. She learned of the award while on vacation with her family in Maine, which has made her vacation that much sweeter!
Dave Pittard and his wife Melissa, purchased Buttonwood from it's founder, Ken Reimer, in 2014. Dave is a fifth generation apple farmer from Onondaga County who discovered his love for agriculture at an early age. Dave considers himself a “rookie,” and owes much of the credit to his winemaker, Sue Passmore. Sue has spent many years in the industry and is a self-taught winemaker.
The winning Riesling grapes are from vines planted on the property in 1999 and mark the second year this Riesling has been classified as an “estate” wine. This means everything involved in the end product - from the grapes, the making, and the bottling, all happened on Buttonwood-owned property. This same wine also recently won Gold at the 2017 INDY International Wine Competition, where wines from all over the globe were submitted.
Over the past three years, Dave and his team have been diligently working on their image and their property, to make it one-of-a-kind. Buttonwood has four cabins on site that are booked well over a year in advance, a beautiful Scottish Highland Cow named Melody (who even has her own Facebook page!), a new production facility and more space for more tanks (which will equal more award-winning wines), the recent addition of an enhanced deck space for their summer parties, which garner much attention, as well as their very own waterfall! Buttonwood Grove has a spectacular view of the lake, and as you can imagine, is one of the top locations for weddings on Cayuga Lake.
Buttonwood isn’t the only winery along Cayuga Lake to take home a medal at this year’s Classic. Amongst our wineries, 114 other medals were awarded. In the double gold category: Buttonwood Grove Winery, Goose Watch Winery, Knapp Winery, Thirsty Owl Wine Company, Toro Run. In the gold category: Goose Watch Winery, Knapp Winery, Lucas Vineyards, Swedish Hill Winery, Thirsty Owl Wine Company, Toro Run Winery. In the silver category: Buttonwood Grove Winery, Goose Watch Winery, Hosmer Winery, Knapp Winery, Lucas Vineyards, Montezuma Winery, Swedish Hill Winery, Thirsty Owl Wine Company, Toro Run Winery, Treleaven. In the bronze category: Goose Watch Winery, Hosmer Winery, Knapp Winery, Lucas Vineyards, Montezuma Winery, Swedish Hill Winery, Thirsty Owl Wine Company, Treleaven.
This toast is for you, Buttonwood Grove - to Sue, the Pittards and the rest of the gang, congratulations and thank you for being a member of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail.