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Jacqueline Rullman
February 22, 2016 | Jacqueline Rullman

Keswick Vineyards wins the Virginia Governor's Cup!

~ Keswick’s Winning Vintage Joins 11 Other Virginia Wines to Comprise 2016 Governor’s Cup Case ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe tonight awarded the 2016 Virginia Wineries Association’s (VWA) Governor's Cup to Keswick Vineyards for its 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve, a pure Cabernet Franc varietal. This award marks the second Virginia Governor’s Cup for Keswick Vineyards, who received its first in 2009 for its 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Governor’s Cup was awarded Monday evening, February 22 at the Hotel John Marshall.

Speaking at the Governor’s Cup awards ceremony, Governor McAuliffe said, “I am honored to award the 2016 Governor’s Cup award to Keswick Vineyards’ winemaker Stephen Barnard and owners, Al and Cindy Schornberg. Their work at Keswick Vineyards embodies those characteristics that are imperative for Virginia farmers and winemakers: an entrepreneurial spirt, a drive to excel, a healthy tolerance for risk, and a desire to see what Virginia’s land and terroir can do. It no secret the Commonwealth’s wine industry has experienced tremendous growth both in quality and quantity in recent years. Such growth has an enormous impact on Virginia in terms of economic development and job creation, especially in rural areas, and the craft beverage industry as a whole is playing a key role in helping build the new Virginia economy. I offer my congratulations to Keswick Vineyards and its 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve – a beautiful 100% estate-grown wine."

The Keswick 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve is a 100% varietal Cabernet Franc. According to the winemaker’s tasting notes, “this wine is light and graceful, but also powerful – dense with black pepper and exotic spices that turn into darker fruits as the wine is aerated. The wood tannins are firm, yet are well balanced with ample acidity and fruit. The palate is savory with accenting mocha, brambleberry, and bitter chocolate tones that are punctuated with a long finish.”

“It has always been my dream to make a great red wine from the soils of Virginia, and my wife and I settled here to establish Keswick Vineyards,” said Al Schornberg, proprietor of Keswick Vineyards. “Thomas Jefferson noted that cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous and independent citizens, and so I am very proud to be honored with our second Governor’s Cup win for our 2014 Cabernet Franc. I am grateful for our team at Keswick Vineyards, our son-in-law and winemaker Stephen Barnard, and the entire wine community in Virginia for turning my dream into reality.”

Stephen Barnard, winemaker at Keswick Vineyards commented, “The 2014 vintage will stand out in the years to come, I believe, as one of Virginia's finest. With clean ripe fruit harvested, our intention was to stand back and let the soul of the vineyard shine through in the wine. As we taste the wines developing in bottle, I am happy that we achieved what we set out to do. These wines are authentic and communicate the spirit of our winery, vineyard, and souls.”

"I join Governor McAuliffe in congratulating Al, Cindy, Stephen and the entire Keswick family for their achievement, one that will help bring more attention to Virginia's vibrant craft beverage industry," said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. "The development of the wine industry over the last decade has made it one of the fastest growing sectors of Virginia's agricultural economy. Today, there are more than 275 wineries in Virginia and 360 vineyards that cultivate more than 3,500 acres of grapes. The Governor's Cup winners show that advancements in Virginia wine quality are helping to grow the industry's footprint in the Commonwealth and its reputation in the global marketplace."

The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was conducted over four weeks of preliminary tastings, held at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C in January. The final round of tastings was held at The Jefferson Hotel, in Richmond in early February. The Governor's Cup award winner was selected from the 2016 Governor's Cup Case, a selection of the top 12 scoring wines chosen from 432 entries of both red and white wines, from 95 wineries. The esteemed panel of judges, including Jay Youmans – one of only 138 Masters of Wine (MW) in the U.S. – had the difficult task of ranking each wine based on aunified scoring system.

In addition to Keswick Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve, the other 11 wines included in the 2016 Governor’s Cup Case are:

Barboursville Vineyards, 2014 Vermentino
Bluestone Vineyard, 2014 Chardonnay
Cardinal Point Winery, 2014 Clay Hill Cabernet Franc
Fabbioli Cellars, 2012, Cabernet Franc
Glen Manor Vineyards, 2013 Hodder Hill
Granite Heights Winery, 2010 Evening Serenade
Horton Vineyards, 2014 Petit Manseng
Michael Shaps, 2014 Petit Manseng
Naked Mountain Winery, 2012 Petit Verdot
North Gate Vineyard, 2013 Meritage
Stone Tower Winery, 2013 Hogback Mountain

This year's results show a wide variety of wines, highlighting the diversity of grapes growing with distinction in Virginia’s climate and soil. Two wines hail from the Shenandoah Valley, five from Northern Virginia, and five from the Central Virginia area. Several wineries are making their inaugural showing this year in the Governor's Cup case, including Naked Mountain Winery, Stone Tower Winery, Granite Heights Winery, and Cardinal Point Winery.

Now in its 34th year, the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition was revamped in 2012 to become one of the most stringent and thorough wine competitions in the country. The competition is a result of a partnership among the gubernatorial-appointed Virginia Wine Board (VWB), the Virginia Vineyards Association (VVA), and the VWA, which owns and manages the competition. Any wine made from 100% Virginia fruit was eligible for the competition, while ciders and fruit wines had their own category and medalists. All entries included an affidavit with a certification of 100% Virginia fruit and vineyard particulars, including grower names and location, as well as information on alcohol, acidity or basicity (pH), and residual sugar.

Both the Governor's Cup Competition and the resulting Governor’s Cup Case boost the visibility of the state's highest-scoring wines through various programs and exposure to top industry critics and tastemakers. Wine included in the Governor’s Cup Case will be used by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office for marketing purposes in Virginia, across the country, and around the world. A number of cases will be shipped to select wine media, promoting Virginia wines to a larger national and international audience. The award-winning wines will be used for education purposes at Virginia winemaker roundtable discussions to improve overall quality of Virginia wines. Governor’s Cup Case wines will also be used by Governor McAuliffe on select domestic and international marketing missions and other events designed to promote Virginia’s burgeoning wine and winery tourism industries.

For interviews and photo requests, please contact Annette Boyd at 802.402.1896 or For a complete list of previous Governor’s Cup winners and information about the Virginia wine industry, please visit or call the Virginia Wine Marketing Office at 804.344.8200.

According to a 2012 economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs more than 4,700 people and contributes almost $750 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. Nationwide, Virginia is in the top five states in number of wineries and wine grape production. In 2015, Virginia wine sales reached an all-time high of more than 524,000 cases or nearly 6.3 million bottles. More than 1.6 million tourists visited Virginia wineries in 2015.


Daily Progress: A love for grapes, wine and the land brings success to Keswick Vineyards

Newsplex: Keswick Vineyards takes the Governor's Cup

Washington Post: Keswick Vineyards takes best in show at 2016 Virginia Governor’s Cup

NBC29: Gov. McAuliffe Awards Keswick Vineyards with 2016 Governor's Cup

Old Town Crier: Keswick Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve Awarded 2016 Governor’s Cup

Greenville News: Keswick Vineyards takes top honors in Virginia wine competition

Daily Progress: Keswick Vineyards vintage wins Governor’s Cup

Richmond Times Dispatch: Keswick's 2014 Cabernet Franc Estate Reserve wins 2016 Governor's Cup

Richmond Magazine: #Wining.  Keswick Vineyards takes home the coveted 2016 Governor's Cup.

Style Weekly: Keswick Vineyards Wins the 2016 Governor's Cup

Schiller-Wine Blog: Virginia's Best Wines: 2016 Virginia Governor's Cup, USA

Love those Virginia reds: Hello Keswick Cabernet Franc

Time Posted: Feb 22, 2016 at 10:58 AM
Jacqueline Rullman
February 8, 2016 | Jacqueline Rullman

Keswick Receives Two Gold Medals in the Virginia Governor's Cup Competition!

We are so excited to find out that two of our wines were awarded Gold Medals at this year's Virginia Governor's Cup Wine Competition- our 2013 Signature Series Cabernet Franc and our 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve!

And great news for our Keswick Select Wine Club Members- the 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve is one of the featured wines in your February wine club shipment!

If you aren't a member of our wine club, find out how to join here.

Read the full press release here.

Jacqueline Rullman
December 31, 2015 | Jacqueline Rullman

Three 90+ Scores from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate!

"This is mostly a miscellaneous collection of wines in the interest of timeliness. Some highlights include the new Keswick releases, one of my favorite Virginia wineries from the first report, and the first notes on some Georgia wines. The reds were interesting, but that Petit Manseng was lovely. Give them a try."

—Mark Squires


Time Posted: Dec 31, 2015 at 10:53 AM
Jacqueline Rullman
December 2, 2015 | Jacqueline Rullman

Robert Parker Names Keswick Vineyards Wine "Best of East Coast"

Keswick Vineyards' 2012 Signature Series Viognier received a 91 point score and was named "Best of East Coast" by Mark Squires on!  This is a huge honor for this fantastic Virginia wine, which can be enjoyed for another 5 years.  Take a look at his whole report here, and order it online before it's gone!


Time Posted: Dec 2, 2015 at 10:52 AM
Jacqueline Rullman
November 12, 2015 | Jacqueline Rullman

Keswick Vineyards' 2014 Chardonnay Receives a Double Gold!

We are pleased to announce that our 2014 Estate Reserve Chardonnay has been awarded a Double-Gold at the 2015 American Wine Society's Commercial Wine Competition!  We are very pleased to see Virginia wines rank so highly in this national competition!  Stay tuned for its release...

Time Posted: Nov 12, 2015 at 10:50 AM
Jacqueline Rullman
August 25, 2015 | Jacqueline Rullman

Keswick Vineyards Awarded Gold in China!

August 25, 2015

Keswick Vineyards Wins in China

Keswick Vineyards’ 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve has just been recognized with an important Gold medal at the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirits competition in China, the CWSA.

The heavyweight blind tasting held in Hong Kong resulted in Keswick Vineyards being rewarded alongside famous brands including Scotland’s HAIG CLUB (David Beckham and Simon Fuller); Australia’s Wolf Blass and Peter Lehmann; France’s Bernard Magrez and Les Grand Chais de France; Italy’s Feundo Arancio and Cantine San Marzano; New Zealand’s Saint Clair and Marisco; South Africa’s Distell and La Motte Wine Estate and Spain’s Williams and Humbert and Rioja Vega.   

“We are honored to have our 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon be recognized as a World Class wine amongst 35 participating countries. Virginia is making a name for itself not just in the USA but worldwide.  We are even more excited about the vintages that we are aging and have not released,” says owner of Keswick Vineyards, Al Schornberg.

Winemaker and Vineyard Manager, Stephen Barnard, adds, “This is in part a small validation that we are on the right track in realizing our dream of making world class Cabernet.  With Virginia not known as a Cabernet Sauvignon favorable climate and area, this international recognition is something we can all be proud of.  Having just bottled our 2013 Vintage, and while our 14 matures in barrel, we are confident those wines will continue the success of our wonderful 2010”. 

The CWSA Judges traveled from each corner of Hong Kong, China and Taiwan to attend the blind tasting, selected from the most prominent sommeliers, hoteliers, retailers, importers, and distributors from throughout the region. They are the country's leading buyers and are responsible for sales of 50 million bottles of wine and spirits per year.

CWSA Judges reported the standard of wines and spirits was the highest ever seen before.



2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve

·         Gold/93 Points – 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition

·         Gold – 2013 & 2015 Virginia Governor’s Cup

·         Gold – 2014 San Diego International Wine Competition

·         Gold – 2014 Indy International Wine Competition

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve

·         Double Gold – 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition

·         Gold – 2012 Virginia Governor’s Cup

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve

·         2009 Governor’s Cup Winner & Gold Medal

For further images see link here:

Full results on


For further information or interview, contact:


Stephen Barnard, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager

Keswick Vineyards

434-244-3341 x102


Jacqueline Rullman, Public Relations Manager

Keswick Vineyards

434-244-3341 x104