Iowa State Fair Wine Competition Synopsis: 2022
On July 23rd, I had the pleasure to help out with the 2022 Iowa State Fair Wine competition sponsored by Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA). This was the first time I got to experience all the thought and planning of the competition. I was able to see all the behind the scenes action. Judges were divided into three panels consisting of four judges each with wine tasting evaluation experience. The wine entries were divided into eight or nine flights for each of the panel groups.
In order to keep judging fair, all of the Iowa wines that were submitted were divided into groups by their similar characteristics. Some of these characteristics were style, variety and sweetness scale.
The competition couldn’t have run as smoothly as it did without help of five volunteers, including myself, IWGA members, and other awesome volunteers. Each group of judging panels had two volunteers to pour and serve each flight. In between flights, the volunteers would clean the glasses from the previous flights, empty the spit cups, and ensure the judges had water and plenty of neutral-tasting crackers. The day was split up between the first six flights, then lunch, finishing with the remaining flights, and judging the best of show.
After a long day of serving flights from 133 wines from 18 Iowa wineries, the awards given out were nine Double Gold, 11 Gold, 45 Silver and 33 Bronze. In total, 98 wines earned awards. At the end of the tasting and scoring was time to award the best in shows. There were five categories in total, the winners of which would then compete for the highly sought-after Governor’s cup. “The Iowa Wine Growers Association sponsors the Governor’s Cup Trophy award, which is the best of the best wine selected from the four Best of Show winners, determined by the judging panel at the end of the competition. Iowa’s Governor, Kim Reynolds, presents the trophy in a ceremony each year during the Iowa State Fair. The trophy has been on display at Tassel Ridge Winery for their Oskyfizzante wine from the 2021 Iowa Wine Growers Competition and will travel to Eagles Landing Winery to be on display for the next year following the conclusion of the Iowa State Fair”. (IWGA press release, 2022)
- Best in Show Dry Red
- Red Barn Wines-St. Croix
- Best in Show Dry White
- Eagles Landing Winery-Constance
- Best in Show Sweet Red
- Eagles Landing Winery-Rohde Red
- Best in Show Sweet White
- Eagles Landing Winery-Outstanding White
- Best in Show Specialty
- Soldier Creek Winery-Blanc de Blancs
- Governor’s Cup
- Eagles Landing Winery-Constance
The Iowa Wine Experience
Both Erin Norton and I had the honor of helping with the Iowa State Fair: Iowa Wine Experience. We were able to help clean and set up the barn as well as volunteer to assist with t-shirt sales and pouring flights. All the best-in-show wines were poured to the public at the Iowa State fair at the top of the hill inside Grandfather’s Barn. The walk was definitely worth it for most fair goers as the days were always busy with people sampling what Iowa wine has to offer. I helped in the morning on August 13th as a cashier. I watched as the wine tasting line wrapped around the building all the way to outside. The best part of helping was being able to hear many Iowans rave about the wines that are produced here in their home state.
There were many fair goers who wanted to buy all the Best in Show wines. Although, due to state fair rules we were only allowed to sell the State Fair Red and State Fair White by the bottle. There were quite a few people more than happy to buy the State Fair wines. For the other selections, I was able to help navigate those who asked to check out Iowa Wines in Valley Junction. Being able to hype up the Iowa wines and bolster all the wineries the state has to offer was such a joy. On top of bottle sales, there were a lot of people who bought t-shirts or who were already rocking Iowa wine apparel.
If you missed the state fair this year you can always check out the Iowa Wine Experience next year. It is one of the best ways to try a variety of Iowa wine. In the meantime, you can head to your local winery and check out their selection of Iowa wines. Remember to drink responsibly. Cheers.
ABOUT IOWA WINE GROWERS ASSOCIATION: The Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of the wine and grape industry in Iowa. Established in 2000, the Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) supports the industry through education, marketing/promotion and legislative support.