Sheldrake wins big at Canberra International Riesling Challenge

Best Wine of the 2015 Challenge Canberra International Riesling Challenge

Best Wine of the 2015 Challenge,
Canberra International Riesling Challenge,
2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine
(Class 12, Sweet including Botrytis & Eiswein, Finger Lakes, USA)

We knew our 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine was rather spectacular. Now the whole world knows it: just two weeks ago, the Sheldrake Point Winery 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine took the top prize at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge Competition in the Australian capital city, beating nearly 500 Rieslings from around the world for Best Wine of the 2015 Challenge.

Our big win at Canberra is flattering, to say the least, but also validating for what we already knew: this wine is a champion.

Wild Ferment, Meet Canberra

Rated at 98 points on a 100-point scale, Sheldrake Point’s 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine also took Best American Riesling and Best Sweet Riesling on its way to claiming the top trophy. The rigorous competition, dubbed the “Cannes” of Riesling, included entries across styles from Australia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.

Out of 494 Rieslings in the Canberra International Riesling Challenge, 31 came from the United States, including 18 from the Finger Lakes region, which won 9 medals. The masked wines competed before six judges from the United States, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia.

“This is a great honor for a great New York winery and I’m proud to congratulate Sheldrake Point Winery for earning the top award at this rigorous international competition,” says New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Our state is home to some of the best wines in the world, and I look forward to seeing the industry continue to reach new heights in the years to come.”

Celebrating Riesling in Canberra, Australia

The Canberra International Riesling Challenge has been a leader in innovation in wine judging, promotion of wine and Riesling, and in the last 15 years has become the most important annual event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

We enter Sheldrake Point Rieslings at Canberra because our Finger Lakes wines are world class. Not only do our Wine Club Members and our Finger Lakes peers know it, but the worldwide Riesling community also knows because our Rieslings have a track record at Canberra.

This year, Sheldrake Point Winery also received an Elite rating (97 points) at Canberra for our 2014 Riesling Ice Wine (a non-wild ferment), continuing a long tradition earning top medals at this event: Sheldrake Point won Gold medals and Best American Riesling for our 2004 Riesling Ice Wine in 2005, the 2009 Late Harvest Riesling in 2010, the 2010 Riesling Ice Wine in 2011, and the 2013 Late Harvest Riesling in 2013.

New York Wine & Grape Foundation President Jim Trezise, a judge at Canberra 2015, said, “Clearly, Sheldrake Point is one of the world’s top producers of Riesling dessert wines.”

Other top U.S. winners at Canberra included Washington State’s Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Ethos Reserve Late Harvest Riesling, Horse Heaven Hills (Elite, 96) and 2014 Columbia Valley Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling (Gold, 95); and Michigan’s Black Star Farms 2013 Arcturos Dry Riesling (Elite, 96) and 2013 Arcturos Riesling (Gold, 95).

2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine woos Wine & Spirits

The 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine also earned 95 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine, and a spot for Sheldrake Point among the magazine’s list of 2015 Top 100 Wineries, worldwide, in the October issue–one of only two New York wineries to earn that recognition. [Read our blog post about that here.]

Their description of our 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine: “This remarkable ice wine from Sheldrake Point is thoroughly transportive, from its exotic hue to its scents of saffron, Thai pineapple and demerara sugar. It offers magnificent concentration and propulsive acidity; intensity and beauty in effortless harmony.” –Wine & Spirits Magazine, October 2015

A ‘once in a lifetime’ wine

Our 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine winning the top prize at Canberra is a big deal. Even bigger than this 16 lb. King Salmon I caught while our wine was competing halfway around the world.

Our 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine winning the top prize at Canberra is a big deal. Even bigger than this 16 lb. King Salmon I caught while our wine was competing halfway around the world.

“This is a wine that will probably never happen again,” says winemaker David Breeden of the 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine. “The spontaneous fermentation of wild yeasts took 73 days in the cold winter of 2014 with no intervention. This is a perfectly pure expression of the fruit and the conditions at the time – something that will likely never be repeated. Sometimes you just have to let a wine be what it wants to be, and this one is certainly quite special.”

These are truly high honors earned by our vineyard team and our winemaking team, and I know they feel great about the product and service that they create. The big awards, the high scores, and even a big “congratulations” from our governor, all give our team a wonderfully deserved sense of pride.

It’s simply part of doing our best. Open a bottle of our 2014 Wild Ferment Riesling Ice Wine and join the celebration!

Chuck was attracted to the Finger Lakes wine industry during his graduate work at the Cornell Hotel School and was instrumental in the transformation of the old abandoned dairy farm to today’s winery and vineyard. As principle owners, he and his wife Fran assume the risk of the venture and personally see to its priorities and requirements.  Chuck’s focus is on the management and company systems and processes.  When not in the office, he and Fran may also be working with the staff, doing repairs, tending the gardens, or chatting with visitors.

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