Celebrating Cana Vineyards and Melanie Natoli winning the 2022 Governor’s Cup is one of the many gifts of Loudoun that we can all appreciate this holiday season. This is one story in a series of 31 that highlight #LoudounPossible opportunities in the county. Check back every day in December to learn more!
Winemaker Melanie Natoli joined Cana Vineyards and Winery in Middleburg as winemaker and vineyard manager in 2015. Little did the vintner know that in just a few years, she would be breaking gender barriers due to her exceptional winemaking skills. The 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup® named Natoli and Cana Vineyards the winner of this year’s competition, making her the first woman ever to win the rigorous competition in its 40-year history.
The Virginia Governor’s Cup® is one of the most stringent competitions in the US, hosted by the Virginia Wineries Association, in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Vineyards Association.
Natoli admitted that winemaking has been a challenging but rewarding road. “When you have a panel of experts who are judging some of the best wines in the state, and then they pull my wine to the top, it definitely feels validating,” Natoli noted in a post-win interview. “For the friends and family who’ve stood by me, supported me, telling people that I’m doing something good, maybe I did something for them, too.”
Cana Vineyards’ 2019 Unité Reserve earned the top score from a panel of esteemed wine-tasting judges who evaluated the wines based on appearance, aroma, flavor, commercial suitability, and overall quality. Natoli is particularly close to this wine because as she notes, “it’s in my hands from bud break to bottle.” The 2019 Unité Reserve will be featured alongside 11 other wines in the Virginia Governor’s Cup® Case, a collection of the competition’s 12 highest scoring wines. Cana Vineyards also placed a second Meritage blend in the case with its 2019 Le Mariage.
Learn more about Melanie Natoli, Cana Vineyards, and the Virginia Governor’s Cup® by visiting Cana’s website.