Assistant Secretary Tom Riford helped celebrate the July 5th awards ceremonies in Saint Mary’s County. The Port of Leonardtown Winery was officially awarded the 2022 Winemasters’ Choice. The trophy was founded as a peer-review wine competition, with Maryland’s winemakers joining industry partners in blind-tasting through entries to select the winner. The winner earned the Best in Show trophy, nicknamed the “Comptroller’s Cup.”

There were over 150 wines submitted to the blind competition, which included wines made from grapes grown in Maryland, Virginia, New York, and California.

The competition was held earlier this year. The Vintner’s Select White earned double gold by unanimous decision from judges before being crowned “Best in Show.” This recognition comes on the heels of the winery’s recent Maryland Governor’s Cup win.

This is the first time in history that a winery has won both the Governor’s Cup and the Comptroller’s Cup Trophy in the same year.

It was also the first time a woman winemaker and a Vineyard Cooperative won the award and the Governor’s Cup in the same year. The Port of Leonardtown Winery is affiliated with a local agricultural cooperative, the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative (SMWGC), and is a vital value-added agriculture business in the region. Also, this award was certainly a rarity for a white wine to win against “bigger and heftier” red wines.

Lauren Zimmerman is the winemaker and is well known as one of the best vintners in North America.

The winning wine is “Vintner’s Choice White,” 50% Viognier, 25% Chardonnay, and 25% Albariño. The award-winning wine is said to be “…with bright stone fruits in the start, moving to tropical notes and finishing with citrus.”

Internationally renowned viticulturists have said, “This Maryland wine is exceedingly rare, and is ranked among the very best in the world.”


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