First “Drink Outside the Grape” competition announces medals

CHARLOTTSVILLE, VA — The first “Drink Outside the Grape” competition with just under 100 entries took place in Charlottesville, VA on Aug. 11, resulting in 76 medals for fruit wines, meads, ciders and fruit brandies.
The 98 entries came from 11 U.S. states, two provinces of Canada, and Austria.
“Beverages in these categories are often misunderstood or not given the same respect as is given to traditional table wines,” explains Richard Leahy, Competition Chair and Conference Manager of the Eastern Winery Exposition. “Drink Outside the Grape gives fruit wine, mead, cider and fruit brandies a place where they can be judged fairly without being compared to traditional grape-based table wines.”
Best of Category awards were: Satek Winery’s Autumn Classic (apple), Double Gold and Best Fruit Wine; Carlos Creek Winery, Apple Hopper, gold and Best Cider; Castle Hill Cider, 1764, Double Gold and Best Fortified; Finger Lakes Distilling, Cherry Liqueur, Double Gold and Best Distilled Fruit.
There were no gold medals in the mead class but there was a five-way tie in high silver medals: Charm City Meadworks, Basil Lemongrass; Blacksnake Meadery,”Sweet Virginia”; Hermit Woods Winery, “2015 Sap Mead”; and two meads from Prairie Bee Meadery in Saskatchewan, “Haskap Haven” and “Strawberry Splash.”
Leahy pointed out that about half of all entries were dry to off-dry, showing that it’s a stereotype to think of these beverages as sweet or unsophisticated.
“I’m impressed with the quality and creativity shown in these beverages,” says Leahy. “For example, there’s ‘1764’, a fortified sweet apple cider that won a double gold and Best Fortified, and a melomel (fruit wine/mead blend) from Saskatchewan made from the haskap berry, of which I hadn’t heard until now.”
Complete medal results are available at www.drinkoutsidethegrape.com .

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