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Wente Vineyards wins top trophy at 25th Indy International Wine Competition

August 12, 2016
photo of 2016 wine competition

Wente Vineyards’ 2013 Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon was named Wine of the Year at the 25th Indy International Wine Competition, held Wednesday and Thursday (Aug. 3 and 4) at Purdue University.

The annual event is the largest independent wine competition in the United States, featuring 79 classes of wines from commercial and private winemakers around the world. More than 2,000 wines were evaluated by a panel of 52 professional judges. Trophies and medals were awarded on the basis of “a comprehensive sensory evaluation,” said Christian Butzke, Purdue University professor of enology and chief judge of the competition.

Wente Vineyards, located in Livermore Valley, California, is the oldest continuously operated family-owned winery in the United States. Other winners were:

* Winery of the Year: Trinchero Family Estates; Napa Valley, California. This trophy honors the best international brand of the competition.

* Winemaker of the Year: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery; Oliver, British Columbia, Canada. This trophy is awarded to the winemaker who wins the most gold medals by brand at the competition.

* Red Wine of the Year: Fawnridge Winery; Auburn, California - 2014 Sierra Foothills Petite Sirah.

* White Wine of the Year: St. James Winery; St. James, Missouri - 2015 Vignoles.

* Rosé Wine of the Year: Effingham Manor Winery; Nokesville, Virginia - 2015 Rosé Chambourcin.

* Sparkling Wine of the Year: St. Julian Wine Company, Inc.; Paw Paw, Michigan - Sweet Nancie Traminette.

* Dessert Wine of the Year: Buck Creek Winery; Indianapolis - 2014 Vidal Blanc White Ice Wine.

* Fruit Wine of the Year: Galena Cellars, Inc.; Galena, Illinois - 2015 Cherry.

“The diversity of this year’s winners is a true reflection of how diverse the industry is and how much the quality of wine has been elevated over the past two decades,” Butzke said. “In part, this is due to the local grape and wine Extension programs that exist in several states. Ours is one of the strongest, but from coast to coast there has been an enormous increase in wine quality that is recognized by all the judges.”

Indiana wineries won 320 medals, including 32 double gold, or unanimous best-of-class nominations by the judges; 50 gold; 159 silver and 79 bronze. Additionally, Indiana wines are eligible for several state-specific prizes. Winners this year were:

* Indiana Winery of the Year, Governor’s Cup: Oliver Winery, Bloomington. This trophy is awarded to the Indiana winery that wins the most medals of the highest quality.

* Indiana Wine of the Year: Huber’s Orchard and Winery, Borden - 2015 Vignoles.

* Indiana Farm Winery of the Year: Country Heritage Winery and Vineyard, LaOtto. This award is given to the best winery that produces less than 50,000 gallons of wine annually.

* Indiana Traminette of the Year: Two EEs Winery; Huntington - 2015 Traminette. This award honors the best entry of Indiana’s signature wine.

“The Indy is a true measure of how much more successful Indiana’s wineries get every year,” said Butzke. “We saw a number of medals, including double gold, and these represent a mutual agreement among all those experts from different parts of the national wine industry that these are great wines.”

For the full list of medal winners, visit

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