The 2024 Virginia Governor’s Cup Case recognizes the best of the best wines in Virginia, choosing only a dozen wines to represent the 300+ wineries found throughout the Commonwealth. 2024 marks another record-breaking year for the Virginia wine industry, with over 750 total entries, 79 winning wineries, and 137 total gold medals. Now in its 42nd year, this annual wine competition has become known as one of the most stringent in the country.

Although you can sometimes find wines from these Case-winning vineyards at the local grocery store or gourmet shop, visiting the wineries allows you to see where, and sometimes how (when tours are available), these incredible vintages are produced, tasting exceptional wines against the stunning backdrop of Virginia’s wine country. Use this 2024 Governor’s Cup Case guide to help you decide which Virginia wineries to visit this spring.


King Family Vineyards—Crozet

Governor’s Cup Winner: 2019 Meritage

Recently named “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast, the Monticello Wine Trail has dozens of spectacular wineries, so it is no surprise that this year’s Governor’s Cup Winner comes from this famed trail. King Family Vineyards’ flagship red wine, Meritage, highlights the best of the vineyard and showcases the finest fruit of their annual harvest. Winemaker Matthieu Finot expresses the terroir through estate-grown Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot blended with locally sourced Malbec. The limited-production wine is sought after for its complexity, Old World flavor, and aging potential.

King Family Vineyards

Located in the gorgeous foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just 15 minutes from Charlottesville, King Family Vineyards is the perfect place to sip on Virginia wine, with expansive lawns that beckon visitors to put down a picnic blanket, grab a glass of wine, and stay awhile. Come on Sundays from Memorial Day through October to watch polo matches as you savor the delicious wines of King Family Vineyards.


Paradise Springs Winery—Clifton

Governor’s Case Winner: 2022 Petit Manseng

Paradise Springs Winery earned a spot in the Governor’s Cup for their 2022 Petit Manseng, a high acid white wine aged in a concrete tank. The egg-shaped concrete vessel is porous like oak barrels, allowing small amounts of oxygen into the wine and softening the acidity without the flavor changes you’d get from barrel aging. This wine is full-bodied, fresh, and fruity, with aromatic notes of dried apricot and lemon curd, finishing with a candied pineapple note.

Paradise Springs Winery is the first bicoastal winery in the United States, with one location in Northern Virginia and the second in Santa Barbara, California. The Northern Virginia location borders the Bull Run River and is the closest Virginia winery to Washington, D.C. Originally part of a land grant from Lord Fairfax in 1716, the winery has a long, rich history–don’t miss seeing the 1700s log cabin, which was restored and renovated in 1955.


Barboursville Vineyards—Barboursville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2019 Paxxito

Barboursville Vineyards’ Paxxito is no stranger to the Governor’s Case—in 2021, the winery’s 2015 Paxxito took home the coveted Cup. The 2019 Paxxito is a blend of Moscato Ottonel and Vidal grapes, harvested young and crafted in a traditional Passito method that allows the grapes to air-dry on racks open to outdoor ventilation for months and results in concentrated flavors and sugars. A long fermentation process is then induced naturally in older barrels and the wines are continuously stirred for a year. This sweet white wine tastes of amber honey, marmalade, ginger, and apricot, with a bit of earthiness at the end.

Barboursville VineyardsPlan a trip to the picturesque Barboursville Vineyards, about a half-hour northeast of Charlottesville in the rolling hills of Central Virginia. The winery’s 18th-century estate includes two tasting rooms, an outdoor patio space for sunny days, and an on-site restaurant and inn that offers the perfect spot for a wine lover’s weekend getaway. While visiting the vineyards, don’t miss the historic Barboursville Ruins, one of Thomas Jefferson’s famed architectural endeavors, just steps away from the winery.


Afton Mountain Vineyards—Afton

Governor’s Case Winner: 2019 T

Afton Mountain Vineyards’ 2019 T is a traditional Bordeaux-style wine made from a blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon and aged for 20 months on new and neutral French oak barrels. A beautifully balanced wine with red fruit aromatics, a rich tannin structure, and a long finish, this red wine has earned gold medals in the Governor’s Cup competition for three years in a row.

Afton Mountain VineyardsAfton Mountain Vineyards is one of Virginia's first farm wineries, with the oldest vines dating to the 1970s. Another winery along the Monticello Wine Trail, Afton Mountains Vineyards is also part of the Nelson 151 Trail, a picturesque route along the Blue Ridge Mountains that features dozens of places to sip and relax, whether you’re looking for cideries, breweries, distilleries, or wineries. Want to have a long wine weekend in the area? Afton Mountain Vineyards has on-site cottages, allowing you to experience vineyard living at its finest.


Bluestone Vineyards—Bridgewater

Governor’s Case Winner: 2017 Petit Verdot

The 2017 Petit Verdot from Bluestone Vineyards is made from free-run juice, a process where the grapes are macerated and left to press under their own weight. The resulting wine has good acid, fine tannins, and a subtle finish not often found in a Petit Verdot. The wine has a floral nose of lilac and violet and a plum character in the acidity.

Bluestone VineyardsPhoto Credit: Emily Eby

Part of the Shenandoah Valley AVA, Bluestone Vineyards sits atop a hill and offers stunning views of the Allegheny Mountains. On cooler days, enjoy a glass of wine paired with fare from the winery’s little bites menu by one of the fire pits, and if time allows, stick around for sunset—the mountainous location is unparalleled when it comes to beautiful sunsets.


Breaux Vineyards—Purcellville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2019 The Fog Nebbiolo Reserve

Ripe clusters of Nebbiolo are hand harvested for The 2019 Fog Nebbiolo Reserve, then laid to dry for several weeks before pressing to create a rich red wine. It is aged for 18 months in French and American oak barrels and the resulting wine has rich aromas of licorine, cassis, and dried tobacco, with flavors of ripe fig, clove, raisins, dried cherries, and truffle.

Breaux Vineyards

Photo Credit: Steven Morris

Located in Northern Virginia in Loudoun County, Breaux Vineyards is a 400+ acre estate with over 100 acres of vines. Vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains can be viewed from the winery’s tasting room patio. While Washington, D.C. is only an hour away, the winery’s expansive property creates a secluded oasis for wine lovers.  

Cave Ridge Vineyard—Mount Jackson

Governor’s Case Winner: 2019 Fossil Hill Reserve

The 2019 Fossil Hill Reserve is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot that is aged in both French and Hungarian Oak for approximately 14 months, then blended and aged for an additional month before bottling. The wine has notes of dark fruit and cherry aromas, with hints of vanilla and cedar. The palate of dark fruit combines with the spice of the Cabernet Franc and the black olive of the Petit Verdot for a rich, well-balanced wine that will age well for many years.

Cave Ridge VineyardPhoto Credit: Andy Sams

Established nearly 25 years ago in the Shenandoah Valley, Cave Ridge Vineyard is a family-owned and operated winery located between Harrisonburg and Winchester off of I-81. With Shenandoah National Park to the east and the Allegheny Mountains to the west, Cave Ridge Vineyard is a fantastic destination for those outdoor lovers looking to experience some of Virginia’s best wines.  


CrossKeys Vineyards—Mount Crawford

Governor’s Case Winner: Blanc De Noir

Crafted from 100% Pinot Noir, CrossKeys Vineyards’ Blanc De Noir is fermented in neutral barrels and aged for 14 months, resulting in a bright acidity up front and a balanced finish. This sparkling wine has hints of baked bread, but is very fruit forward, tasting of orange peel and apple.

CrossKeys Vineyards & EstateCrossKeys Vineyards is located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley just outside of Harrisonburg. The 125-acre estate features a Tuscan-style villa tasting room where you can purchase bottles of wine, do a tasting, grab a bite at their on-site bistro, and learn about the winemaking process during a guided tour.


Hark Vineyards—Earlysville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2019 Spark

Made from a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, Hark Vineyards’ 2019 Spark lives up to its name with velvety notes of dark berries and a savory palate of black pepper and clove. With a well-developed tannin structure, this wine should shine for years to come.

Fairly new to the Virginia wine scene, Hark Vineyards was established in 2015 and had their first harvest in 2017, but they have quickly become a dominating force in the winemaking industry, winning eight gold medals in this year’s Governor’s Cup competition. The tasting menu changes monthly, allowing you to sample new wines each time you visit the vineyard. Pack a picnic and bring the entire family, as Hark Vineyards is a family-friendly property that even welcomes the four-legged family members.


Michael Shaps Wineworks—Charlottesville

Governor’s Case Winner: 2020 L Scott

The 2020 L Scott is a blend of Tannat, Merlot, and Malbec that is fermented in stainless steel then aged for 22 months in oak barrels. The Tannat is heavily tannic, while the Merlot provides softness and depth, and the Malbec adds bright red fruit and a fresh acidity. Consider aging this red wine, as it will evolve over the next seven to ten years.

Michael Shaps WineworksWith one location in the heart of Charlottesville and a second a few miles outside the city, Michael Shaps Wineworks offers tastings of both Virginia wines and wines made at Michael Shaps’ vineyard in the Burgundy region of France. As one of Virginia’s most acclaimed winemakers, Michael Shaps crafts wines that have helped make the Commonwealth an internationally recognized wine destination.


Mountain & Vine Vineyards and Winery—Faber

Governor’s Case Winner: 2022 Chardonnay

The 2022 Chardonnay from Mountain & Vine Vineyards is fermented in neutral French oak barrels and starts with notes of citrus fruit and green apple followed by stone fruit with a floral undertone. The palate has vibrant acidity, and this full-bodied style wine will age well.

Mountain & Vine Vineyards, Formerly Delfosse VineyardsPhoto Credit: Steven Morris

Winemaker Stephen Barnard has won three Governor’s Cups since he moved to Virginia from South Africa in 2002, and one of his Chardonnays was even featured on  Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s “Top 100 Wines” in the World list. After years serving as the winemaker at Keswick Vineyards, Barnard recently moved to Mountain & Vine Vineyards and Winery (formerly known as Delfosse Vineyards & Winery), and his notable achievements in the Virginia wine industry continue to garner high praise from wine critics all around the world.


October One Vineyard—Leesburg

Governor’s Case Winner: 2022 Albariño

October One Vineyard’s 2022 Albariño is fermented in cold stainless steel for four weeks, then aged in stainless steel to produce exotic aromatics of white flower, peach, lychee, and honey. The palate has a dense, sweet tasting core but maintains a very clean, crisp, and refreshing finish.

October One Vineyard grows their grapes at their nearby 30-acre vineyard, but the tasting room is conveniently located in downtown Leesburg.


These wineries were recognized in the 2024 Governor’s Cup Case, but there are dozens of wineries that earned bronze, silver, and gold medals for their wines; check the complete list and visit these remarkable vineyards to experience the absolute best of Virginia vino!