868 Estate Vineyards won Virginia’s top wine honor on Tuesday evening, taking home the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup for the vineyard’s 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito.
This marks the first time that a wine made of 100% Loudoun grapes has won the contest, beating out more than 530 entries from all corners of the Commonwealth. It is also the first dessert wine to take top honors in the contest, now in its 15th year.
“This victory 868 Estate Vineyards is a testament to the strength of our farming and winemaking communities,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said. “Loudoun is home to nearly 50 farm wineries, more than any other jurisdiction in Virginia. This award shows that being No. 1 in the quality of our products is also #LoudounPossible.”
Named for the highest point of elevation on the property, 868 Estate Vineyards was founded in 2012 as the shared vision of the Charron, Deliso and DiManno families, and is located on 120 acres in Hillsboro, Va.
The winery features award-winning Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Meritage, Rosé, and many other locally grown varietals, and supports art in all forms by displaying the work of local artisans across the property, and hosting live music, performance, and theatrical events throughout the year.
868 also owns and operates companion restaurant and catering business, Grandale Vintner’s Table Restaurant & catering, co-located at the Hillsboro location.
“We started this journey just over eight years ago with a desire to build a premium vineyard and winery in Northern Virginia,” said Peter Deliso, Founder and Chairman of 868 Estate Vineyards. “It’s a pleasure to see our team win such a prestigious award and receive recognition for their hard work, creativity, and perseverance.”
Passito is an Italian word for wines made by the appassimento process where grapes are partially dried on straw mats or pallets to concentrate the grapes’ flavors and sweetness prior to vinification. The 2017 Vidal Blanc Passito grapes were dried for one month to bring the sugar concentration over 32%. Sweet and rich with intense honey, pineapple, and tropical fruit flavors, the Vidal Blanc Passito pairs seamlessly with apple tart and intensely flavored cheeses.
“The 2017 Passito was the culmination of a concerted winemaking effort,” 868 Estate Vineyard Co-Founder and Winemaker Carl DiManno said. “I take a very hands-on approach in the winery, and a lot of love and hard work went into this wine, but it was well worth it. I am thrilled that Loudoun’s wines are getting the recognition that they deserve.”
The entire team at 868 Estate Vineyards is very proud of winning the Virginia Governor’s Cup and is excited to continue making high-quality Loudoun wine.
“We have worked hard to bring together quality artisans in wine, food, art, and music,” Deliso said. “This award is a statement to our winemaking, but you’ll find this same dedication in our restaurant, art program, concert series, and music program. To have the full experience, you should visit 868 and see how it all comes together in a welcoming environment.”