Everything Happens for a Riesling!

Two Rieslings and a Saperavi receive the 2019 PA Sommelier Judgment saber awards.

PHILADELPHIA — After months of anticipation, the Pennsylvania Winery Association announces 2019’s Best wines determined in the PA Sommelier Judgment, a blind-tasting of locally produced vinifera wines judged by a panel of top sommeliers. The Galen Glen Winery 2018 Riesling, produced in the Lehigh Valley, tops the list as Best in State. For the second year in a row, Best Red is awarded to Fero Vineyards & Winery, this time for their 2017 Saperavi. The Flickerwood Wine Cellars 2017 Riesling takes home Best White. The coveted saber awards were presented during a private tasting at Talula’s Daily on Monday, October 21, as members of the region’s food and wine community gathered to celebrate PA Wine Month and to raise a glass to Pennsylvania winemakers. 

While the Best wines from both the 2019 and 2018 PA Sommelier Judgment demonstrate a consistent level of quality from Central European varietals Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, the complete 2019 list underscores the diversity of exceptional viniferas produced across the Commonwealth. In addition to Fero’s Saperavi, top wines in the 2019 Judgment included a 2018 Albariño from Maple Springs Vineyard, a 2017 Teroldego from Mazza Vineyards, and a 2016 Carmine from Wayvine Winery & Vineyard.

“This year’s list of top wines from the PA Sommelier Judgment doesn’t just demonstrate the varietal diversity we have in Pennsylvania, it highlights the multiple wine regions that are spread across the state with top wines coming from the Southeast, North Central, and Northwest,” notes Jennifer Eckinger, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Winery Association. “Most of the wineries recognized in the 2019 PA Sommelier Judgment are members of active wine trails, which provide easy-to-navigate itineraries for day trips or weekend getaways devoted to local wine discovery.”

For the third year running, Scott Zoccolillo, Wine Director for Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and longtime PA wines advocate, partnered with the Pennsylvania Winery Association to organize the blind-tasting of upwards of 100 Pennsylvania wines by a panel of more than 20 sommeliers from the region. 

“In addition to increased winery participation, we had a wonderful show of support from local restaurants, sommeliers, and wine writers who volunteered their time and committed to adding more local wineries to their beverage programs,” says Zoccolillo. “Just three years ago only a handful of restaurants participated in PA Wine Month and now we have more than 25 restaurants, including some of the biggest wine programs in the area. This increase and support is further proof that the Pennsylvania wine scene is a force to be reckoned with!”

During PA Wine Month, restaurants from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia promote Pennsylvania wine flights, happy hours and special wine dinners, the details of which can be found at PAWineMonth.com. 

Below is the list of top wines, including the 2018 Rosé from Galer Estate (the first rosé to score in the top wines of the PA Sommelier Judgment), the Vynecrest Winery #39 red blend, and the Chaddsford Winery 2017 Cabernet Franc, in addition to a complete list of honorable mention wines and the judging panel for the 2019 PA Sommelier Judgment.

Photos from the awards tasting held at Talula’s Daily on the evening of October 21, 2019 can be found here. Credit “Courtesy of Pennsylvania Wines | PennsylvaniaWine.com”. Discover more at PennsylvaniaWine.com and follow @PAWines.

Best in State

Galen Glen Winery 2018 Riesling (Andreas, PA)

Best Red

Fero Vineyards & Winery 2017 Saperavi (Lewisburg, PA)

Best White

Flickerwood Wine Cellars 2017 Riesling (Kane, PA)

Top Wines of the 2019 PA Sommelier Judgment 

(listed in alphabetical order)

Chaddsford Winery 2017 Cabernet Franc (Chadds Ford, PA)

Fero Vineyards & Winery NV 1812 (Red Blend) (Lewisburg, PA)

Galen Glen Winery 2018 Cabernet Franc, Stone Cellars (Andreas, PA)

Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery 2018 Rosé (Kennett Square, PA)

Maple Springs Vineyard 2018 Albariño (Bechtelsville, PA)

Mazza Vineyards 2017 Teroldego (North East, PA)

Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery 2016 #39 (Red Blend) (Breinigsville, PA)

Wayvine Winery 2016 Carmine (Nottingham, PA)

Honorable Mention Wines of the 2019 PA Sommelier Judgment

(listed in alphabetical order)

Galen Glen Winery 2017 Grüner Veltliner (Andreas, PA)

Grace Winery 2017 Dragonfly (Red Blend) (Glen Mills, PA)

Grace Winery 2017 Pinot Gris (Glen Mills, PA)

Grandview Vineyard 2016 Merlot (Mount Joy, PA)

Karamoor Estate Winery 2015 Cabernet Franc (Fort Washington, PA)

Karamoor Estate Winery 2016 Chardonnay (Fort Washington, PA)

Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery 2017 Cabernet Franc (Centre Hall, PA)

Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery 2018 Rosé (Centre Hall, PA)

Penns Woods Winery 2018 Rosé (Chadds Ford, PA)

Presque Isle Wine Cellars 2018 Grüner Veltliner (North East, PA)

Shade Mountain Winery 2016 Lemberger (Middleburg, PA)

Stony Run Winery 2017 Brut Sparkling Wine (Kempton, PA)

Stony Run Winery 2017 Viognier (Kempton, PA)

Tolino Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Franc (Bangor, PA)

Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery 2017 Riesling (Breinigsville, PA)

2019 PA Sommelier Judgment Tasting Panel

Alexandra Cherniavsky, The Love

Ashley Peters, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Bryant Fennel, Vintage Wine Bar / The Noble Grape

Chris Marcus, Philadelphia Country Club

Dave Snyder, Fond

Ed Dimarzio, Fork

Heather Curtis, Final Cut Steakhouse and Hollywood Casino

Jamie Rubin, Southwark

Jill Davis, The Four Seasons Hotel

Jill Weber, Jet Wine Bar

John Danley, Del Frisco’s Grille

Keith Wallace, The Wine School of Philadelphia

Kevin Hess, Village Bar + Kitchen

Len Boris, White Dog Café

Michele Konopi, The Four Seasons Hotel

Nicolas DiMeglio, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Rebecca Sollisi, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Robin Shreeves, Wine Columnist, Courier Post

Ryan Bogden, Seasons 52

Sande Friedman, Di Bruno Bros.

Scott Zoccolillo, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Steve Wildy, Vetri Family Restaurants 

Wes Satterwhite, Final Cut Steakhouse and Hollywood Casino

About the Pennsylvania Winery Association

The Pennsylvania Winery Association is a non-profit trade association representing more than 135 member wineries and an advocate on behalf of the state’s growing multibillion-dollar wine industry. With some of the most fertile grape-growing land on the east coast, Pennsylvania ranks fifth nationally in the number of grapes grown, seventh in wine production, and seventh in the number of licensed wineries. To learn more about Pennsylvania wine or to plan a trip, click here.

Press Contact:

Jessie Tettemer, Media Relations, SWELL
[email protected]
215-605-8140


Jennifer Eckinger, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Winery Association
[email protected]
717-234-1944