For the seventeenth year, the University of Tennessee Food Science Department hosted the Wines of the South regional wine competition in October. Forty-seven wineries from eight states competed against one another in categories such as rosé and blush, red, sparkling, white and cider.
Seven of the top “best of” awards went to Tennessee wineries, with the Best of Show award going to Narmada Winery of Amissville, Virginia, chosen from a pool of winning entries named best in their class, listed below.
Best of Rosé and Blush – Country Rapids, by Mill Bridge Winery, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Best of Dessert/Fruit – Blackberry, by Old Millington Winery, Millington, Tennessee
Best of Sparkling – Muscadine Spumante, by Hillside Winery, Sevierville, Tennessee
Best of Red – Midnight, by Narmada Winery, Amissville, Virginia
Best of White – Moscato, by The Winery at Seven Springs Farm, Maynardville, Tennessee
Best of Muscadine – Muscadine Spumante, by Hillside Winery, Sevierville, Tennessee
Best of Cider – Pomicide, by Mill Bridge Winery and Cider, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Wineries and vineyards from 14 southern states from Virginia to Texas are invited to submit their best wines in the competition. This year’s competition included 315 entries from 47 wineries.
The competition also honored vintages made with 100 percent Tennessee fruit with the William O. Beach Award, which is named for Judge William O. Beach, of Clarksville, Tennessee. In the late 1970s the judge pioneered legislation that revived Tennessee’s wine industry. Later, he co-founded Beachaven Vineyards & Winery LTD. The 2018 Beach Award winner was Muscadine Spumante, by Hillside Winery in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Wines are judged by a team experienced in judging wines and ciders, with a few judges participating for more than a decade. A majority of judges are from the southeast, so are more familiar with the specific wine products from the region. Participation in the Wines of the South competition allows for wineries and vineyards to prove their excellence in winemaking.
Points are award based on clarity, color, aroma, taste, balance and overall quality, with points tallied. Groups of judges must come to a consensus and then wines are assigned a medal status of bronze, silver, gold or concordance gold, if all judges in a group agree on a gold medal status.
At the end of the competition, all concordance gold wines are tasted by all of the judges to determine the Best of awards. Any wines not awarded a medal are also given judges’ feedback notes in order to improve future products.
The Wines of the South competition is organized by the UT Department of Food Science.
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