Winehaven Winery won 6 medals at the International Eastern Wine Competition in California last week. Winehaven’s Stinger Mead and Cranberry Wines earned gold medals with scores of 95 and 93 respectively. These wines went on to compete against other gold medal winning wines from around the country in the highly competitive “East Meets West Wine Challenge” that pits the best wines from the Eastern United States against the best from the West. In that round, the Stinger Mead was judged to be Best in Class. The judges conducted a final blind tasting of the Best in Class winners and awarded Winehaven’s Stinger Mead the title of Best of Show.
Founded in 1975, the International Eastern Wine Competition is the longest running Wine Competition in the United States. Twenty-four judges throughout North America evaluated the wines. Their decision was based on the wine’s appearance, aroma, flavor and aftertaste. In addition to Winehaven’s gold medal winning Stinger Mead and Cranberry wines, Winehaven won silver medals with its Marquette Reserve, Nokomis, Chisago and Franconia red wines that are exclusively made from grapes grown in the Chisago Lakes Area.
Honey wine, also known as “mead,” is widely regarded as the ancestor of all fermented beverages. It is referenced in many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Winemaker Kevin Peterson has raised honey in the Chisago Lakes Area for more than 50 years. The honey wine was the winery’s first wine selection when the Peterson family opened WineHaven’s doors in 1995.
The Best of Show award marks the seventh time that Winehaven’s Stinger honey wine has won top honors nationally. It is made from Peterson’s special blend of honey that is collected from local wildflowers and basswood trees. Basswood honey is relatively rare throughout the world because the trees bloom for less than two weeks during the summertime. If the conditions are warm and humid enough in the St. Croix River Valley, the blossoms open enough to produce nectar. “It’s a honey with a special pizzazz,” said Peterson. “The beautiful flavor of the basswood honey really comes through in our wine.”
A complete listing of the award winning wines is listed below:
Stinger Mead: Double Gold Medal - Best of Class and Best of Show
Cranberry Wine: Gold Medal
Nokomis: Silver Medal
Marquette Reserve: Silver Medal
Deer Garden Red: Silver Medal
Franconia: Silver Medal
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