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The Fifth Annual North Carolina Fine Wines Competition results will be announced live on a Zoom Meeting April 28 at 7:00 PM. The judging was held on April 12 and 13 at the Millennium Center in Winston-Salem. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the announcements will be held virtually in a Zoom meeting, open to the public.

The competition is known as the toughest wine competition in the country. The competition requires that the wines be 100% North Carolina grown and vinified, (grapes made into wine) of Vinifera and Hybrid grapes. These grapes are those that you would find on menus around the world like Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Traminette.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau states a wine can be called a state specific wine with only 75% of the grapes coming from that region. A wine label that has American Wine must be at least 75% produced anywhere in United States. The other 25% can be from anywhere. So if you’re a fan of Local Produce and Local Farms, pay attention to the NC Fine Wines awards list, because these are truly a local product produced with care and respect.

Each year a panel of professionals in the wine industry participate to educate themselves on the progress and trajectory of North Carolina wines. For instance, the past two years the competition judges panel included Max Kast, a Master Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is one of less than 270 worldwide Master Sommeliers, and is North Carolina’s only Master Sommelier. The widely respected judges come to this competition because they appreciate the efforts being made to bring North Carolina’s wineries. They have seen the progression of the industry and know that it mirrors the trajectory of West Coast wine history.

Dan McLaughlin of the NC Fine Wines Competition said, “If you haven’t tasted a quality North Carolina Wine recently, you are missing out. It’s like having a conversation with a 5 year old, and then coming back 20 years later. It’s a whole different conversation.”

The competition is unique because it is not only “Blind,” meaning that the judges don’t know the wine producers being judged, but it is also “Mute.” That means judges are not allowed to talk about their thoughts on the wine until after scoring has completed. Instead they write tasting notes of each wine and those are consolidated and given to the vineyards for their review. This feedback is unique in the industry. Also, each judges’ score is noted on the tasting sheets. The whole operation is monitored and scoring is overseen by the University of North Carolina Greensboro Bryan School of Business and Economics. The college also provides their Hospitality students the opportunity to help in the competition’s execution.

Finally, the quality of the wines are showcased in the Riedel Stemware, certainly known as a top wine delivery tool. The stemware allows for the judges to see, smell, taste, and give an overall opinion of the wine at its best. It’s like being delivered in a Rolls Royce as opposed to jalopy.

To join in the live announcement, visit the Events Section of NC Fine Wines Facebook page for the link. Or you can visit the NC Fine Wines web page to see a list of 2021’s winners on April 29th, 2021.