2023 Sommelier Judgement of PA Wines

The Pennsylvania Winery Association (PWA), which is an advocate for PA’s 400-plus wineries, invited wineries from across the state to submit locally grown and produced vinifera wines and select hybrids for blind judgment by a panel of 22 top sommeliers in the region.

The criteria for wines entered required submissions to be at least 75% of the stated Vinifera variety or Hybrid variety (Vidal Blanc and/or Chambourcin), 100% Pennsylvania grown fruit with a Pennsylvania AVA, and wines with less than 1% Residual Sugar. 

The sommeliers tasted more than 70 wines submitted from 19 wineries over two rounds of tasting. The morning session included white, rosé and red wines with the afternoon session focusing on the top 20 wines that moved on from the first round. All wines were scored on a 1-5 rating in categories of appearance, aroma & bouquet, taste & texture, after taste, and overall impression. All of the judges were told of the varietal, vintage and grape varietals used for each wine. Price, Winery and American Viticulture Area (AVA) were not disclosed. 

The panel judged more than 70 wines on May 22, 2023 at Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery in Kennett Square, PA. The panel included:

  • Charlotte Alsaadi | Vine Street Imports
  • Nick Armani | Frederick Wildman
  • Christa Barfield | FarmerJawn. Viva Leaf Tea
  • Arindam Basu | Total Wine & More. Phillywine.com
  • Noelle Casinelle | Creeds Steakhouse
  • Alexandra Cherniavsky | SWIG Partners
  • Mark Cochard | Frank's Wine. PhillyWine.com
  • Connie Custer | Fine Wine & Good Spirits
  • Tom Dean | Vintage Imports
  • Ebonie Dukes | BlacOak Tasting Room
  • Michele Gargiulo | Fearless Restaurants
  • Steve Gullo | Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar
  • David McAllister | Del Friscos Steakhouse
  • Emily Newman | Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
  • Kevin Ostrowski | American Wine Society Certified Wine Judge & Wine Judge Instructor
  • Vivi Rodriguez | Capital Grille
  • Robin Shreeves | Wine Journalist
  • Carrie Lyn Strong | Strong Wine Consulting
  • Bob Trimble | Importer. Distributor. Consultant. Influencer
  • Serena Zelezny | Drexel. What Am I Drinking?! Wine Education
  • Scott Zoccolillo | Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
  • Hamilton Weaver | Skurnik Wines & Spirits

The winners included a “Best White”, “Best Rosé”, “Best Hybrid”, and “Best Red” with the winners announced at Terrain at Styers in Glen Mills, PA later that evening. In conjunction with the Sommelier Judgement of PA Wines tasting, the PWA released their new digital Wine & Cheese Pairing Guide as well that evening. Congratulations to this year’s winners:

The Top 10 wines selected represent a diverse list of varietals from wineries across the entire station, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Rosé Chambourcin, Lemberger, Meritage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The wineries who produced the Top 10 wines, located across the state, are Armstrong Valley, Fero Vineyards & Winery, Grandview Vineyard, Karamoor Estate, Mazza Vineyards, Penns Woods Winery & Waltz Vineyards. Please visit pennsylvaniawine.com/industry for a list of full results.

The day celebrating Pennsylvania wine, ended with a new collaboration with the PA Cheese Guild of Pennsylvania for the “Perfect Pairing: Pennsylvania Wine & Cheese”. The immediate surroundings of the Commonwealth offers some of the best areas for growing grapes and offers a vast landscape for cheese production. With the new digital guide live, grab a bottle of PA wine and PA cheese and start pairing: https://pawineandcheese.pennsylvaniawine.com.