New Jersey Governor's Cup Awards and Wine Competition Results


Sharrott Winery's 2018 Merlot won Best in Show at the 2020 New Jersey Governor's Cup


New Jersey wineries are invited to submit wines for the Governor's Cup each year to be judged by the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) in Illinois. This year, 19 wineries from the state submitted a total of 128 wines for the competition.


BTI judges wines made in New Jersey as wines made in New Jersey, I found out two years ago when I interviewed Jerald O'Kennard, BTI's director for my Courier Post column. He told me that because wines from different regions should have different characteristics, they aren't judged against Napa, Italian or French wines even made with the same grapes.


The 2020 Governor's Cup Awards were announced this morning by the Garden State Wine Growers Association and Governor Murphy on a Zoom call. The governor praised the state's wineries for how they've handled the pandemic.

While the pandemic is preventing us from being together at Drumthwacket, as we have been for each of the past two years, today should be no less celebratory. We should celebrate that the Governor’s Cup is one of the only statewide wine competitions to move forward this year, with a process that is now a national model.
So, in another sense, New Jersey wines continue to make their name and leave their mark.
To each and every one of you, I raise my glass. Even as much of our economy closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and even as you endured the double-whammy of a damaging late-spring frost, you stayed at work – tending to your vineyards and bottling wine, and handling curbside deliveries and direct shipping orders.

Governor's Cup Winners


Beneduce Vineyards' 2019 Tuxedo won Best White Vinifera at the 2020 New Jersey Governor's Cup


The Governor's Cup is given in three categories: Best Red Vinifera, Best White Vinifera and Best Dessert Wine. The wines that win the Governor's Cup also win Best in Class in their category.


  • Governor's Cup for Best Red Vinifera:  95 • Sharrott Winery (NJ) 2018 Merlot, Hammonton, Outer Coastal Plain; this wine also took Best in Show

  • Governor's Cup for Best White Vinifera: 93 • Beneduce Vineyards (NJ) 2019 Tuxedo, Pittstown, Hunterdon County

  • Governor's Cup for Best Dessert Wine: 92 • William Heritage  (NJ) 2017 Late Harvest, Semillon, Mullica Hill, Outer Coastal Plain 17% reserved sugar


Best in Class Winners



Bellview Winery's 2018 Estate Chambourcin won Best Hybrid at the 2020 New Jersey Governor's Cup


Best in Class is given in nine categories and is awarded to the wine that scored the highest in each.


  • Fortified Wine: 93 • Auburn Road Vineyard Vintage Ruby Fortified Wine, Chambourcin, Pilesgrove, Outer Coastal Plain 8% reserved sugar

  • Fruit Wine: 88 • Isaac Smith 2019 Apple Wine, Cape May Winery, Cape May

  • Red Wine: 95 • Sharrott Winery (NJ) 2018 Merlot, Hammonton, Outer Coastal Plain

  • Best Hybrid Red: 90 • Bellview Winery 2018 Estate Bottled Chambourcin, Landisville, Outer Coastal Plain

  • Best Rosé Wine: 90 • Working Dog Winery 2019 Equinox Estate Bottled Rosé, East Windsor, Mercer County

  • Best Sparkling Wine: 93 • William Heritage (NJ) 2017 Blanc De Blancs, Mullica Hill, Outer Coastal Plain

  • Best  Dessert Wine: 92 • William Heritage  (NJ) 2017 Late Harvest, Semillon, Mullica Hill, Outer Coastal Plain 17% reserved sugar

  • Best Vinifera White Wine: 93 • Beneduce Vineyards (NJ) 2019 Tuxedo, Pittstown, Hunterdon County

  • Best Hybrid White Wine: 89 • Bellview Winery (NJ) 2019 Estate Bottled, Traminette, Landisville, Outer Coastal Plain

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