Home Industry News Releases Top Maryland Wines Named at 2019 Maryland Governor’s Cup

Top Maryland Wines Named at 2019 Maryland Governor’s Cup


Big Cork Vineyards wins Maryland Governor’s Cup, Loew Vineyards wins Jack Aellen Cup

(BALTIMORE, MD) – The Maryland Governor’s Cup will take up a year-long residency at Big Cork Vineyards in Rohrersville. The 2019 Maryland Governor’s Cup competition featured 140 entries from nearly 30 Maryland wineries. This annual competition features Maryland-made wines, produced with grapes and fruits grown in the state. Maryland vineyards currently grow nearly 1000 acres of grapes in throughout each of the state’s regions.

“Our state couldn’t be more proud of our wine producers and our entire agricultural community, and I want to sincerely congratulate this year’s deserving winners of the Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our wineries are incredible economic drivers, creating jobs and attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to our state every single year, and this competition brings together the best of the best among Maryland-produced wines.”

After earning three gold medals and two “Best in Class” awards at this year’s competition, Big Cork Vineyards earned the highest honor, “Best in Show,” at the 2019 Maryland Governor’s Cup with their Meritage 2017. Made with Maryland-grown Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, this red blend features intense aromas and rich flavors and is considered a great wine for Autumn sipping.

“Meritage is America’s answer to a Bordeaux blend,” says Kevin Atticks, Executive Director of the Maryland Wineries Association. “Big Cork’s Meritage is an exemplary wine, produced by the hands of Dave Collins and his team.”

The announcement of the Governor’s Cup win comes on the heels of a busy and exciting summer. This past June, one of Big Cork’s best selling, award-winning wines, Russian Kiss, was featured at the Russian embassy during a celebration of Russian Day. Dignitaries enjoyed the wine, made from three Russian grape varieties brought to the United States more than 50 years ago.

“Big Cork Vineyards is very pleased to have won the Governor’s Cup for the second time since our winery opened in 2015. With every passing year, the number of quality Maryland wines increases, and it’s an honor to be ranked highest among the many fine winemakers in Maryland,” said Big Cork Vineyard’s Dave Collins about the winery’s win.

Big Cork’s Black Label Reserve Select Petit Verdot 2016, Meritage 2017, and Vidal Blanc 2018 each earned gold medals at the competition. To taste these wines and to buy a few bottles for your next dinner or gathering, plan a trip to Big Cork. Bottles of Meritage 2017 are also currently listed for purchase on Big Cork’s website.

Loew Vineyards Wins Jack Aellen Cup

Mt. Airy’s Loew Vineyards earned the 2019 Jack Aellen Cup at this year’s competition. Honey & Grape, a non-vintage wine made with Reliance grapes and clover honey, carries on a century-old family tradition of producing honey wine. Earning a gold medal and the “Best in Class” distinction for meads at this year’s Governor’s Cup, Honey & Wine moved on to secure Maryland’s top honor offered to fruit wines, meads, and ciders.

“It is a great pleasure to have the recognition of the Jack Aellen award,” said Lois Loew. “We are especially proud of our Honey & Grape. We look forward to continuing the legacy of fine winemaking in Maryland for generations to come.”

Founded in Maryland in 1982, Loew Vineyards is operated by the Loew family. Spanning five generations of winemaking, the Loews have embraced the modern wine industry while holding their family’s story in reverence. Bottles of Honey & Grape can be purchased at the tasting room at Loew Vineyards.

2019 Maryland Wine Governor’s Cup Results


  • Governor’s Cup: Big Cork Vineyards • Meritage 2017
  • Jack Aellen Cup: Loew Vineyards • Honey & Grape NV


  • White Varietal: Port of Leonardtown Winery • Vidal Blanc 2018
  • White Blend: Crow Vineyard & Winery • Vintner’s Select White Blend 2016
  • Rosé: Fiore Winery • Rosé NV
  • Red Varietal: Catoctin Breeze Vineyard • 2017 Estate Syrah 2017
  • Red Blend: Big Cork Vineyards • Meritage 2017
  • Off-Dry: Big Cork Vineyards • Vidal Blanc 2018
  • Fruit: Dove Valley Winery • Perky Peaches NV
  • Mead: Loew Vineyards • Honey & Grape NV


  • Antietam Creek Vineyards • Albariño 2017
  • Antietam Creek Vineyards • Chardonnay 2017
  • Big Cork Vineyards • Black Label Reserve Select Petit Verdot 2016
  • Big Cork Vineyards • Meritage 2017
  • Big Cork Vineyards • Vidal Blanc 2018
  • Catoctin Breeze Vineyard • 2017 Estate Syrah 2017
  • Catoctin Breeze Vineyard • 2017 Oratorio Barbera 2017
  • Cool Ridge Vineyard • Cool Red 2017
  • Crow Vineyard & Winery • Vintner’s Select White Blend 2016
  • Dove Valley Winery • Perky Peaches NV
  • Fiore Winery • Meritage 2014
  • Fiore Winery • Rosé NV
  • Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyard • Blue Roan 2016
  • Linganore Winecellars • Chardonnay Reserve 2018
  • Loew Vineyards • Honey & Grape NV
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery • Albariño 2018
  • Port of Leonardtown Winery • Vidal Blanc 2018
  • Red Heifer Winery • Cabernet Franc Winemaker’s Reserve 2017
  • Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard • Penelope 2017
  • Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard • Prometheus NV
  • Windridge Vineyards • Portrayal 2018
  • Windridge Vineyards • Seneca 2017

See the entire list of medalists on MarylandWine.com.

About the Competition. The Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition awards the best Maryland wines produced from grapes, fruit, and honey grown within the state. Fruit wines, meads, and ciders produced in Maryland that are judged at this competition vie for the Jack Aellen Cup. Named for Jack Aellen, the founder of Linganore Winecellars and pioneer of honey and fruit wines in the state, this award celebrates non-grape wines. 140 red, white, rosé, sparkling, and fruit wines were entered into this year’s competition, held at the Center Club in Baltimore on September 8, 2019, to be judged by wine experts from around the region.

About the Jack Aellen Cup. The Jack Aellen Cup specifically highlights the top-scoring fruit wine, cider or mead. The cup is named after Linganore Winecellars founder, Jack Aellen, who pioneered wines made from fruit and honey in Maryland. The “Jack Aellen Cup” is presented annually alongside the Governor’s Cup.

About the Maryland Wineries Association. The Maryland Wineries Association (MWA), formed in 1984, is the non-profit trade association that represents more than 85 member wineries in Maryland. MWA’s mission is to develop and expand the grape and wine industry in Maryland – through education and promotion.

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