About the Event
The Colorado Wine Governor’s Cup Competition is the only statewide wine making competition exclusively for Colorado wines.
The competition includes 250 wines from 35 local wineries, all of which are judged by a panel of sommeliers, chefs, writers, and wine experts from around the country.
Meet the Judges
Judging took place at the
Hospitality Learning Center
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Judging is closed to the public
The public tasting will be held at
History Colorado Center
1200 Broadway St
Denver, CO 80203
Winners & Awards
Red Wine Varietals
White Wine Varietals
All Wine-Ratings are determined by a unique 10-point scale –
in conjunction with the judges’ consensus for determining the winning medals.
Numerical ratings are only used to determine a wine’s advancement to the sweepstakes round –
in which the twelve constituents of the Governor’s Cup Case are selected.
The 10-point scale is not equatable to the 100-pt or the 20-pt scales –
all medals will be decided during the preliminary round; however, a wine may improve
its medal in the Sweepstakes round if the entire group of judges decide to do so.
Judges will be assembled into 4 panels of 4 individuals.
*Final medals are contingent upon all medal votes
Medal Award Rules
Tasting Notes & Point Value
A Gold Medal denotes wines that exemplify their varietal character, terroir or stylistic expression in such a way that makes them memorable and desirable –
- Wines that you would not only recommend, but seek out and purchase
- Regardless of personal preference, exemplifies how the variety, style, or terroir is supposed to taste like
A Silver Medal denotes a wine with special qualities –
- Distinctive (unique) qualities
- Character that would cause you to recommend or purchase this wine
A Bronze Medal denotes a well-made wine –
- Good, solid quality
- Would recommend to others and be happy to drink yourself
A wine given No Medal may be drinkable, but with little distinction beyond being sound wine –
- Most likely an undrinkable wine that has flaws or faults present,
- Does not exhibit proper varietal character, or is of discernible stylistic character
- You would not purchase, nor recommend this wine to others
Wine Rating Scale
President Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association
Jay’s wine writing has appeared in publications of the American Institute of Wine and Food, American Wine On the Web, Wine and Cuisine magazine, Arizona Vines and Wines and several other newspapers and magazines. His wine judging experience includes the American Wine Society Commercial Competition, Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition, the Southwestern Wine Competition, the Colorado Governor’s Cup Competition and the Arizona Governor’s Choice competition. He has also spoken at various technical industry seminars on sensory evaluation.
Roberta has been in the wine industry for over 20 years. Twelve of those years has been proudly selling Colorado wines in either a retail capacity or as a distributor. In addition to wine sales, Roberta has written wine a column for "Boulder Woman's Magazine" and "Drinks" magazine for Hazel's Beverage World. Teaching for the School of Natural Cookery's Beverage course has also been a distinct pleasure. She is a certified Colorado Wine Specialist, Second level Sommelier and devoted to the education and promotion of fermented and distilled beverages. This was Roberta's third year of judging the Governor's Cup.
Dave Buchanan has been a long-time wine writer (25 years-plus) and has followed the Colorado wine industry since its modern renaissance in the mid-1980s. In 2014, he wrote the book Drink It In: Wine Guide for Western Colorado which focuses on the wineries and winemakers in the heart of Colorado's wine country. He writes for national and regional newspapers as well as online publications and his blog, Wineopeners.
Shawn Carney was the co-founder and cidermaker at Blossomwood Cidery. Shawn has enjoyed cider and explored cider orchards all over the world. He currently resides on his farm in Cedaredge, Colorado where he maintains a collection of over 200 cider apple and pear varieties.
Denise Clarke owns DC Communications, a PR firm where she represents Texas Fine Wine and Whole Foods Market’s wine program, among other clients. A Certified Sommelier as well as a Certified Specialist of Wine and a Certified Specialist of Spirits, she shares her favorite wines on her blog Texas Wine Gal.
Mike Dunne, retired food editor, restaurant critic and wine columnist of The Sacramento Bee in Northern California, continues to contribute a weekly wine column to The Bee. He and his wife Martha divide their time between homes in Sacramento and San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Both are judges on the wine-competition circuit.
Judge Director of the Mazer Cup International Mead Competition
Sarah has been curious about wine since her childhood in the mountains of Virginia, in Thomas Jefferson's wine country. Although he failed many times at growing grapes and making wine, Jefferson’s determination and passion were an inspiration to her. She graduated from Mr. Jefferson's university, The University of Virginia, inspired by his love of wine. After moving to Boulder in 2007, she became certified with the Master Court of Sommeliers. She has served as the sommelier at The Hotel Boulderado and Riffs Urban Fare, both in Boulder. She turned to distribution as an on-premise sales rep for Republic National Distributing Company and then, currently, Baroness Wines. This is her third year as a judge, and is thrilled to watch the Colorado Wine industry blossom.
Cindy has been an Affiliate Professor with Metropolitan State University of Denver since 2009 in the Hospitality Department. She specializes in Wine, Beer, Food and Events.
Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon, is a nationally known wine writer whose blog is one of the top 100 wine sites in the world. He is the co-founder and former president of Drink Local Wine, the first locavore wine movement. His latest book is The Wine Curmudgeon's Guide to Cheap Wine.
A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stover dove into the hospitality and tourism fields after he graduated from George Washington University. His travels have taken him to such great wine-producing areas as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and even the UK. After holding a part-time job at the tasting room at Breaux Vineyards in Hillsboro, Virginia, Stover enrolled in the Certified Sommelier program with the International Sommelier Guild and landed at DC’s OYA Restaurant & Lounge as Wine Director. In 2009, he launched a wholesale wine portfolio and brand called Vino50 with importer and distributor, Siema Wines, created to encourage consumers to explore local and regional wines. Vino50 celebrates the 50 States of Wine and Stover collaborates with wineries in budding wine regions to show consumers that fine wines can come from states other than California. Today the Vino50 portfolio represents over 20 wineries from 13 different US states.
A true pioneer of the modern Napa Valley, Warren Winiarski arrived in 1964 set on becoming a winemaker. After working at Souverain and then at the brand new Robert Mondavi Winery, he made the wine for Ivancie Cellars in Denver, CO in 1968 and 1969. All the while he continued to scour Napa Valley for the perfect spot for his own estate, ultimately settling in the Stags Leap area next to the already well-regarded Fay vineyard. Fame came quickly as his first commercial vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon took first place in the 1976 Judgment of Paris. A bottle of the winning Judgment of Paris 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon is currently on display and is a permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. He was inducted into the California Vintners Hall of Fame at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in 2009. Winiarski sold Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 2007 and continues his passion for greatness in grapes and wine at his Arcadia Vineyard in the Coombsville District of the Napa Valley.
Dr. Michael Wray is a Professor of Restaurant Management at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. His credentials include a Sommelier Diploma with the International Sommelier Guild, Certified Culinary Instructor, Certified Wine Specialist with the Society of Wine Educators, and Master Certified Food Service Executive. As a Professor at Metro State, Michael has garnered a strong following of students that appreciate his interactive learning environment that fosters a love for food, wine, beer, and spirits in tandem. As a Chef and Sommelier, Dr. Wray is active in the food and beverage industry by consulting with companies in restaurant design, menu and recipe development. He holds Bachelors in Nutrition and Foods from Virginia Tech, an MBA from Salisbury University and a PhD in Education Leadership at the University of Colorado, Denver.
San Francisco Magazine has called Alder Yarrow “The Wine World’s Brightest Cyberstar” and he is widely accepted as a pioneer of wine blogging. He has been publishing Vinography.Com daily since 2004, and has been a columnist for Jancis Robinson’s web site since 2011. Alder is also the author of the Roederer-Award-winning The Essence of Wine, a coffee table book about the world of wine’s flavors and aromas.
Becca Yeamans-Irwin is an award-winning wine writer specializing in the science of all things related to wine. In addition to her freelance work, she is also runs The Academic Wino blog, a blog dedicated to dissecting current research in enology, viticulture, and more. Becca lives in Longmont, CO with her husband, baby, and her four-legged friends.
Max has been working in the food and wine industry for over 35 years. In Colorado, he worked as the Sommelier at both the Brown Palace Hotel and the Adams Mark Hotel. For the last 15 years, he has been teaching classes in the College of Culinary Arts at JWU’s Denver campus.
Max has been involved with Colorado wines for more than 15 years. He is interested in all aspects of the
Wine business, from tasting Colorado wines to being a wine buyer, consultant, and wine judge. Max was appointed as a Director on the Colorado Wine Development Board in the fall of 2012.
Taylor D. Courey is associate wine buyer at Coaltrain Wine & Spirits, a fine wine, beer and liquor purveyor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He received his BS in Business from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a concentration in International Business. He is a fourteen-year veteran of the wine industry working at the wholesale and retail level. He is also a retired veteran of the United States Air Force. His current project is an examination of country cuisine of Piedmont Italy.
Tom works as a computational physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has had
a passionate interest in wine since 1970 and teaches wine appreciation classes in Los Alamos and Santa Fe. He has written for Wine Spectator, Wines & Vines, Vintage, and Wine World magazines.
Tom Mansell is the Managing Editor of Palate Press: the Online Wine Magazine. He has a PhD in chemical engineering from Cornell University and is a recognized beer judge with the BJCP. Tom lives in Boulder, but will be leaving Colorado in the fall to take an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at Iowa State University.
Bill Skrapits has been marketing and lobbying for the growing Texas wine industry since 2002 and has Been published in three major magazines. His life-long passion for wine, winemaking, and blending started over 20 years ago and he has won over 50 international wine awards in the last ten years. He’s studied under eight of the finest master winemakers and leaders in Texas and in the United States, and has worked with over ten wineries at every stage of production. He consults with small wineries all over the United States, from Texas and Oklahoma to Michigan and Florida.
Dave has been involved in the wine business since 1977 and has sold Colorado wine since the day there was only one operating winery in Colorado. As manger of Denver’s Vineyard Wine Store in the 1970’s, he was watching the growth of Colorado vineyards since the day the first vines were being planted between homes in Clifton and Palisade, Colorado. He has served a total of 12 years as a member of the Wine Board appointed by three different Colorado Governors. In 2008, Dave was voted Chairman of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board.
In 2013, Dave was awarded a Friend of the Colorado Wine Industry by the Colorado Association of Viticulture and Enology. Dave has been a judge in both the Colorado Governor’s Cup wine competition five times and three times has been a judge at Mesa County’s Winery Competition held at the Mesa County Fair.
Ashley Hausman Vaughters primarily works on the importing side of wine, but also writes and teaches professional and consumer classes in Denver, Colorado. She is a student herself, a candidate in the Master of Wine program. She also serves on the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board as a wholesale representative.