by Averill Shepps
Sunday, January 26th was the date for the annual awards ceremony and wine tasting for the 18th annual Pennsylvania Wine Excellence judging. We were pleased to have record attendance of 107 for this popular event that highlights the Pennsylvania wine industry. I recall the early days when we held the awards tasting in one of the smallest of the Hilton’s banquet rooms, and now we have now graduated to a section of their ballroom! The winner of our top award and recipient of our elegant plaque this year was Mazza Vineyards Winery for their 2018 Ice Wine. The runner up was Armstrong Valley Winery’s 2017 Cabernet Franc. Winemakers representing the top 13 wines spoke at the event, recalling the difficult wet summer of 2018 when conditions were difficult in the vineyards. We could only admire their hard work, perseverance and ingenuity in dealing with what nature handed them.
Your wine society has a strong crew of volunteers, many of whom helped with such tasks as receiving the wines and getting them to the Hilton on time (Dave Williams and Brett Kern); pouring the sparkling wine for the guests as they entered the room (Rit and Stephanie Casey); many hands were at work with the set up as well as with opening and pre-pouring the other 12 wines (Cindy Shingler, Scott Casper, Kim and Dave Hawkins, Bonnie Noll, Marty Cook, Christine Williams, Susan Decker, Stacey Zechman). Before and after the tasting our Treasurer (Lynne Beeson) and Assistant Treasurer (Cathy Boyd) took reservations, followed up with guests on details, kept financial records, and checked in attendees. It was heartening to see them all work to make the event a great success. My thanks to all of them!