(from left to right) Chase Vienneau, Bart Horton, James McKinney, and Wilson Cooke holding their respective trophies

If you were wondering about the top-rated wines Tennessee has to offer, then you definitely aren’t alone. Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance (TFWA) recently convened a group of winemakers at DelMonaco Winery & Vineyards to test the best wines of the state of Tennessee for their annual competition.

“Bringing Tennessee’s Winemakers together as judges was as enjoyable as it was challenging,” said event organizer Jonathan Ball. “The broad variety and overall distinct quality of the wines presented was impressive considering the late frosts and difficult growing seasons over the past three years.”

The event was sanctioned by Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance, the state association for wineries and vineyards in Tennessee, for member wineries. More than 50 wines were sampled and judged for the prestigious Tennessee Governor’s Cup Trophies and William O. Beach Award.

The Governor’s Cup recognizes the best wines from West, Middle and East Tennessee. Tennessee wines must be made from at least 75% Tennessee fruit to be eligible for this recognition. The William O. Beach Award requires the use of 100% Tennessee-sourced fruit.

And if you thought Tennessee had a limited supply of fruit to choose from, you’d be mistaken.

“Our competitors presented the best of Tennessee wines, meads and ciders all while using a minimum of 75% Tennessee-sourced product,” said TFWA Executive Director Laura Swanson. “The entries were inspired, making use of grapes, apples and even honey!”

Century Farm Winery took home the Governor’s Cup for West Tennessee. Their champion: a vintage 2020 Corot Noir.

“It’s a tremendous honor to win the Governor’s Cup Award for West Tennessee,” said proprietor Bart Horton. “So much hard work goes into the growing of our grapes and producing the finest wines we can make.”

The Middle Tennessee Governor’s Cup Award went to Arrington Vineyards, for their Scarlet 2020 vintage.

“We are extremely excited to have earned the Middle Tennessee Governor’s Cup Award for our Scarlet 2020 vintage wine,” said winemaker Chase Vienneau, “Grown and produced sustainably right here at Arrington Vineyards!”

As for East Tennessee, the Governor’s Cup winner was Apple Barn Cider House, for their Simply Muscadine cider.

“I’m thrilled that the efforts of our production family [is getting] recognized in this way,” said Apple Barn Cider House cider maker James McKinney. “…Fortunately for us, we have some of the best muscadine growers in the world. Working with them is a joy and builds a strong community for our industry to thrive.”

The William O. Beach Award was snagged by Beachaven Vineyards & Winery—the very winery founded by Judge William O. Beach—now operated by his grandson, Wilson Cooke.

“We are thrilled to bring the William O. Beach award home to Beachaven Vineyards & Winery again this year,” said operations manager and winemaker Wilson Cooke. “There were some truly remarkable wines in the field. The fact that this award was peer reviewed is especially important to us.”

Want to try out one (or all) of Tennessee’s best? Visit tennesseewines.com to join us on the Tennessee Wine Trail!