Seventh Annual NC Fine Wines Competition Awards Gala Announces Results

The Fine Wines of NC organization held the seventh NC Fine Wines Competition Awards Gala tonight. The Gala pays homage to the Oscars, with their red carpet event and people dressed up for a night out of fun and education. The dinner is a five-course meal, paired with local wines. The dinner had sourced almost everything locally from North Carolina - scallops, shrimp, pork, short ribs, vegetables, grains, cheese, and even the pecans for the pecan pie. And local didn't stop at the wine glass.

Seventh Annual NC Fine Wines Competition Awards Gala Announces Results
Winston-Salem, NC, April 15, 2023 --( This evening at the Millennium Center in Winston-Salem, the Seventh Annual NC Fine Wines Awards Gala was held with over 200 people in attendance from both industry and the public who love wine. The Gala announces the winners of the toughest wine competition in the country.

The competition requires all wines to be 100% NC Grown and Vinified (made into wine). A labeled state wine is federally required to be at least 75% made from grapes in that state. It isn't only a blind competition, but mute. Judges are not permitted to discuss the wines before giving a score. Instead they write down their review of the wines giving each one a score. Then, once the scores are collected, they can discuss the flighted wines.

The competition judges are all very highly qualified and active in the wine business. Three are Advanced Level III Somms from the Court of Sommeliers program and three are Advanced Level 4 WSET. And this year, Henk Schuitemaker from the Angus Barn in Raleigh also judged. In 2022, Mr. Schuitemaker was named one of the "8 Star Sommeliers in the Restaurant" by Wine Spectator. All of the judges taste and evaluate all the wines for varietally correct characteristics, such as visual, aroma, taste, finish and overall quality of the wines. Each vineyard will then receive these tasting notes confidentially to help build on their wine making decisions. These notes also provide the vineyards with independent evaluations of their wines.

Several of the judges and teams organizing the event appeared via video segments commenting on their views of how the competition and wines were for 2023. All agreed that 2023 was the best year yet.

Jay Raffaldini, President of the Fine Wines of NC, welcomed the audience and stressed that even though the night "is an event for people to celebrate their hard work and recognize individual wines, it also is a time to recognize the that the vineyards that participate in this competition are committed to quality." Mr. Raffaldini also thanked many members of the wine community in North Carolina. He had special praise for Dean Mac Bancs and his team from UNC Greensboro's Bryan School of Business & Economics on their 15+ year commitment to partnering with North Carolina's wine industry.

Dan McLaughlin, secretary of the organization, spoke about the growth of quality in the NC Fine Wines Competition, noting that when the amount of number of Gold wines exceed the Bronze, you take notice. "This year it was a watershed event. There were 4 Double Gold Medals, a first; 40 Gold Medals; 69 Silver; and 27 Bronze medals awarded. Finally, local wines are getting the recognition they deserve. You don't have to jet off to the West Coast or overseas for a world class wine experience. It's right here in North Carolina - all the great taste and no jet lag.

The NC Fine Wines 2023 Competition ShowCase is:

- Best in Show, Best White, Double Gold: Stony Knoll Vineyards - Viognier 2022
- Best Red: Surry Cellars - Tannat Reserve 2019
- Best Hybrid & Double Gold: Roaring River Vineyards - Rock & Roar 2019
- Best Dessert: JOLO Winery & Vineyards - Sweet Vermouth
- Best Sparkling: Marked Tree Vineyard - Bubble Swarm 2021
- Best Rosé: Marked Tree Vineyard - Chloe Rosé 2022
- Showcase & Double Gold: Raffaldini Vineyards - Patrimonio 2019
- Showcase: Sanctuary Vineyards - Pearl (Albarino) 2022
- Showcase & Double Gold: Shelton Vineyards - Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
- Showcase: Raffaldini Vineyards - Grande Riserva 2019
- Showcase: Raffaldini Vineyards - Vermentino Superiore 2022
- Showcase: Shelton Vineyards - Malbec 2021

The Fine Wines of NC organization's mission is to educate consumers about these 100% locally grown and vinified wines. These wines are able to stand next to any wines produced around the globe. They also have a scholarship for NC students who will attend NC colleges or universities pursuing a wine related career.

For more information on quality wines in North Carolina, visit And check out the map of the Fine Wines of North Carolina to plan your next wine trip.
North Carolina Fine Wines Competition
Dan McLaughlin
Fine Wines of NC
934 W. 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101-2520