Cana Vineyards Wins 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup® with 2019 Unit Reserve


Winemaker Melanie Natoli becomes first woman to receive coveted cup on competition’s 40th anniversary

March 28 – Richmond, Virginia – At the annual celebration held at Main Street Station, Governor Glenn Youngkin awarded the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup® to Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg for its 2019 Unit Reserve, an estate red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The competition received a record number of entries this year – 615 wines from more than 100 Virginia wineries.

Winemaker Melanie Natoli received the prestigious Governor’s Cup® on behalf of Cana Vineyards, becoming the first woman in the history of the competition to receive this award. Cana Vineyards’ first plantings took place in 2012, with Natoli joining as winemaker and vineyard manager in 2015. The 2019 Unite Reserve is a particularly special wine for her, as she notes: “it’s is in my hands from bud burst to bottling. »

“It is an honor to present this year’s Virginia Governor’s Cup® to Cana Vineyards and Winery of Middleburg and to Melanie Natoli, the first female winemaker to receive this award,” Governor Youngkin said. “The competition’s 40th anniversary saw the most diverse selection of award-winning wines to date, demonstrating Virginia’s passion and experimental spirit that drives our wine industry to new heights.”

Cana Vineyards’ 2019 Unit Reserve earned the highest average score from a panel of reputable judges who rated the wines on appearance, aroma, flavor, marketability and quality overall.

The 2019 Reserve Unit 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 blend of merit in the case with its 2019 Le Mariage.

The complete set includes:

  • Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg 2019 Reserve Unit
  • 50 West Vineyards 2019 Ashby Gap
  • Barboursville Vineyards 2020 Reserve Vermentino
  • Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg 2019 The Wedding
  • Maggie Malick Cellars 2020 Albariño
  • Michael Shaps Winery 2019 Chardonnay
  • Pollak Vineyards 2017 Merit
  • Vineyard Rockbridge 2018 V d’Or
  • Shenandoah Vineyards 2019 Red Reserve
  • Stinson Vineyards 2017 Merit
  • Trump Winery 2015 Brut Reserve
  • Wisdom Oak Winery 2019 NINETEEN

The Virginia Governor’s Cup® case includes a variety of styles and represents the three major Commonwealth wine regions: Central Virginia, Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. The seven wines in the case are meritorious Bordeaux-style blends, wines that balance the subtlety of the Old World with the boldness of the New, embodying Virginia’s unique place in the world. Elegant and expressive white varietals also tell the story of this year’s competition with Chardonnay, Vermentino, Albariño, Sparkling and a dessert to complete the set.

For the second year in a row, Virginia Cider was judged in its own category with the highest rated cider named “Best in Show”. Winning three gold medals in this year’s competition, Albemarle Ciderworks received top cider accolade for its 2019 Virginia Hewes Crab.

“Virginia wines and ciders continue to cement their place in our outstanding agricultural and tourism industries and as major contributors to Virginia’s economy,” said Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Matt Lohr. “As the oldest cider house in the state, Albemarle Ciderworks, winner of this year’s Best in Show Cider award, is committed to bringing locally crafted cider to the tables of Virginians around the world.”

About the Virginia Governor’s Cup® Competition

The Virginia Wineries Association Governor’s Cup® is hosted in partnership with the Virginia Wine Board and the Virginia Vineyards Association.

All entries must be made from 100% Virginia-grown fruit to be eligible. Each wine is classified according to a unified rating system. For more information on the Virginia Governor’s Cup® competition and a complete list of winners, visit:


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