Archive for the ‘Wine Awards’ Category

Cheers! From Melissa’s Desk

What a gorgeous fall day it is out there!

Week of 9/15/08:

  • Fox Run Vineyards held a press conference to officially announce being selected as a Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine. For a report from the conference, please see my post at Lenn Thompson’s blog LENNDEVOURS. Thanks to Philip Beckley and Charles Wilson of Splash The Finger Lakes for inviting me to attend. If you see them out and about around the Finger Lakes, be sure to say hello. They’re great to talk to! Here’s a link to a segment on the Wine & Spirits award from Rochester’s 12WHAM.
  • Edible Finger Lakes is Going to Capitol Hill. The local foods magazine has been officially invited to attend the Senate Agriculture Advisory Board meeting next week on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. According to Senator Clinton’s office, Edible Finger Lakes is “doing as much if not more than anyone to promote the Finger Lakes agriculture and foods movement.” If you haven’t seen the magazine yet and you’re a lover of the farm-to-table movement, be sure to seek it out.

I think that will do it for this week. I hope that you’re as excited about these recent indications that the Finger Lakes wine region is at a turning point. Now it’s just a matter of continuing to spread the word about the high quality wines being produced here. So why not engage in conversation about Fox Run’s award and Edible Finger Lakes invitation to Capitol Hill and the positive reviews of many of our wines. These are great accomplishments for the entire wine and culinary industry in the region and can only mean that there will be more good news to come.

Cheers until next week!



Cheers! From Melissa’s Desk

Here it is a little later than usual this week, my apologies! My husband Rich has been dealing with severe back pain and diagnosed with degenerating discs in his neck and lower back, so I’ve been playing nurse a bit the last few days.

Week of 9/8/08:

  • Big breakthrough this week. Fox Run Vineyards was recently notified that it has been named a Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits magazine. Editor and publisher Joshua Greene noted that Fox Run is the first New York State Winery of the Year in the 22-year-history of Wine & Spirits Winery of the Year awards, honoring both American and international wineries. Fox Run will be among the award recipients honored at the Fifth Annual Top 100 event on October 14 in San Francisco. Greene states that the tastings conducted to determine the Top 100 wineries are under controlled, blind conditions and advertising in the magazine has no influence on the wines selected for tasting and evaluation. Congratulations to Fox Run owner Scott Osborn and winemaker Peter Bell and team for this honor.  This award and recent coverage in other wine publications are sure to bring more awareness and accolades to the entire Finger Lakes Region as well as to the New York Wine Industry as a whole.
  • Speaking of Fox Run, while checking their website for background information this week, I am highly impressed with the winery’s entire website especially the homepage featuring fresh content including their latest accolades and events, Trade button and Press Room including press kit for journalists and bloggers to easily gather information. The easier it is for them to access critical information such as bios, images, accolades, specific wine information and label images, and quick story ideas, the more likely your winery will receive coverage=search engine juice=traffic driven to your website and the beginning of a relationship with new customers or a reminder to visit you for current customers (this includes consumer and trade customers). If you don’t have a marketing person on staff, you may want to consider hiring a Winery PR & Marketing consultant to assist you with writing copy, selecting images and keeping your site up to date as you receive media coverage.
  • Upcoming Family, Love, Wine blog series: I’ll be interviewing some of the key thought leaders in the Finger Lakes Wine Industry in the coming months and you’ll see their ideas and assessment of the state of the industry here. If you have a leader you would like for me to consider interviewing for my “Finger Lakes Visionaries” series, email me directly at melissa (dot) dobson (at)

Thanks for your interest and cheers until next week!


Consumer Wine Judging Event: The Golden Nose Awards

After much anticipation, (sorry to those who had to hear about how excited I was about this event…more times than once!) I participated in the third annual Golden Nose Awards  at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.   The event is a dream-come-true for Finger Lakes wine lovers, no matter what your level of understanding.  (Photostream here:

When I first heard of the event, I was a bit taken aback.  There’s an opportunity to participate in a wine judging panel among other consumers just as anxious to learn how to properly judge wines as me?  As a publicist who is just breaking into the world of wine, with a special interest in Finger Lakes Wine, this was a great opportunity to gain more intimate knowledge of the wines of the region and learn from an esteemed panel including Peter Bell (Fox Run Vineyards), Lorraine Hems (Rochester Institute of Technology and The New York Wine and Culinary Center), Laura Kudla (MadderLake Cafe), Tim Moore (Imagine Moore Winery), Ann Raffetto (Wagner Vineyards), Lindsay Stevens (King Ferry Winery), Barry Tortolon (Rooster Hill Vineyards), Dave Whiting (Red Newt Cellars), Derek Wilber (White Springs Winery) and Jim Zimar (Prejean Winery).

After mingling with fellow judges during a reception at the Rockwell Museum of Art on Friday night, Saturday morning began with a 2 1/2 hour training and judging session that included a Wine Judging “How To” session by Lorraine Hems, Wine Components Tasting by Peter Bell, Wine Flaws and “Off Flavors” demonstration by Derek Wilber (yes, we smelled hydrogen sulfide and cork taint during this one), Representative Wine Tasting by Jim Zimar and a Varietal Comparison Session by Dave Whiting for those who had participated in past Golden Nose Awards as judges.  Okay, now we’re ready to get judging!

Judges were broken into smaller panels led by a panel leader who tabulated each wine flight’s scores.  Each wine was judged and awarded points for Clarity, Color, Aroma, Taste, Balance and Overall Quality and given Double Gold, Gold, Silver, Bronze or No Award.  A Double Gold indicated that the panel unanimously voted the wine a Gold Award winner.  In our group, we only awarded one Double Gold.  My panel judged wine flights of Sparkling Wines, Riesling, Pinot Gris/Grigio, White Hybrid Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon and Melomels (Mead w/fruit).

I could see that the Golden Nose Awards judges were engrossed in the judging process and took it very seriously.  Our panel was so fortunate to have one-on-one time with Jim Zimar, our panel leader, who was a wealth of information and anecdotes and gave us insight into a winemaker’s life.  He grew up working during school breaks at wineries in the Finger Lakes, and became a winemaker at Prejean in 1986.  I very much appreciated the time he took during our judging to explain winemaking process, growing conditions and his thoughts on how our emotional associations with certain smells can determine if we’ll like a wine since smell is such a large component of taste.

The day concluded with the Dinner Reception, Grand Tasting and Awards Ceremony at the Corning Museum of Glass.  The food was excellent and was prepared by CMoG’s Chef Christian Chiron.  Attendees also had free reign of the wine tasting tables featuring the award winning wines of the day.  The awards were presented by Morgen McLaughlin, President of The Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association and Assemblyman Jim Bacalles, who was part of an Assembly Minority that secured funding for the New York Wine and Grape Foundation and for the Farm Viability Institute.  Local favorite Virgil Cain performed for the “hard-working” judges, their guests and dinner attendees. 

Complete results are posted at

Best of Class awards:
Sheldrake Point Vineyard – Summer White
Lakewood Vineyards – Riesling
Goose Watch Winery – Viognier
Goose Watch Winery – Cabernet Sauvignon
Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars – Liquid Wisdom
Seneca Shore Wine Cellars – Sherry
Red Newt Cellars – Cabernet Franc

Double Gold Awards:
Billsboro Winery – Cabernet Franc
Earle Estate Meadery – Peach Perfection
Glenora Wine Cellars – Alpine White
Hosmer Winery – Riesling
Lakewood Vineyards – Dry Riesling
Lakewood Vineyards – Riesling
Torrey Ridge Winery – Niagara
Congratulations to the winning wineries!
Next year’s Golden Nose Awards are tentatively scheduled for May 30, 2009.  I noticed
that this event drew wine lovers from other states including Michigan, Pennsylvania
and Missouri and the crowd was friendly. If you have a love of wine and would like
to learn more about its components and the wines of the Finger Lakes, mark your
calendars for next year’s event.   As I reflected on the day,  I found myself thinking,
“It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!”
For a blog post from a fellow Golden Nose Awards judge, the Finger Lakes Weekend Wino, see

Finger Lakes Wine Event: Only 6 Full Judges Tickets Left for the Golden Nose Awards

The Finger Lakes Third Annual Golden Nose Awards are almost here and this will be my first experience with the event. I’m happily holding a Full Judges Ticket and I’m very excited about it. The awards are based on the selections of a panel of consumer wine judges who will be tasting and rating the wines of the Finger Lakes Appellation. The Golden Nose Awards judging, dinner and awards ceremony will be on Saturday, May 31 at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY with a welcome reception on Friday, May 30 at The Rockwell Museum of Western Art. Fellow Golden Nose Awards Judges, let me know if you would like to connect at the reception.