Monday evening, the 2019 Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival kicked off with the 29th Annual Monticello Cup Wine Competition at the new Vault Virginia on Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall. We at Charlottesville Wine & Country were honored to again be sponsors of this year’s festival and were excited to join in the annual celebration of the Monticello AVA.

Earlier this year, 20 of the wineries from our local Monticello Wine Trail (MWT) submitted a total of over 58 wines to compete in the 2019 Monticello Cup Awards (MCA). Under the direction of the Virginia Wine Academy, 14 judges came together at Veritas Vineyard & Winery in March for a day of wine tasting and scoring.

Monday night’s event was kicked off with a few words from George Hodson, CEO of Veritas Vineyard & Winery and Monticello Wine Trail President, who noted all the many efforts and accomplishments of the group, sharing, “We have very talented people, [and a] great place to grow grapes, but we’re at an exciting place in history—we are writing the history of our wine region.” 

After an extensive judging process, King Family Vineyards was selected as the winner of this year’s competition, and on Monday evening, Chris Barker of the Virginia Wine Academy presented them with the 2019 Monticello Cup for their 2016 Mountain Plains. Winemaker Matthieu Finot was present to accept the Monticello Cup. During his acceptance speech, he honored the vineyard’s owners, David and Ellen King, saying they “started the vineyard 20 years ago and made all of this possible.” Carrington King, King Family Vineyards manager and eldest son of the Kings, spoke as well, referencing the unusually wet year. “We learned last year how to work harder and smarter, and my big lesson last year is that you can only control what you can control,” said King. “We’re very proud of the wines we are making and very much appreciate this honor.”

In addition to King Family Vineyards’ 2016 Mountain Plains, Keswick Vineyards’ 2016 Signature Series Cabernet Franc and Veritas Vineyard & Winery’s 2016 Vintners Reserve were the other two reds recognized in the “Top 3 Red” category this year. The “Top 3 Whites” included King Family Vineyards’ Small Batch Series Viognier, Stinson Vineyards’ Petit Manseng and Trump Winery’s 2010 Brut Reserve. Overall, there were 12 gold, 32 silver and 11 bronze winning wines in the 2019 competition.

Below, top left, George Hodson, CEO of Veritas Vineyard & Winery and president of The Monticello Wine Trail speaks about the impressive submissions in this year’s competition. Bottom left, Trump Winery Winemaker Jonathan Wheeler stands with his “Top 3 White” winning 2010 Brut Reserve. Top middle, Vineyard Manager Carrington King and Winemaker Matthieu Finot of King Family Vineyards hold the 2019 Monticello Cup and the wine for which it was awarded— their 2016 Mountain Plains, along with their “Top 3 White” winning Small Batch Series Viognier. Bottom middle, Winemaker Emily Pelton and Assistant Winemaker Elliott Watkins of Veritas Vineyard & Winery stand with their “Top 3 Red” winning 2016 Vintners Reserve. Top right, Winemaker and Co-owner of Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Nathan Vrooman, stands with his wife, Stinson Vineyards‘ Winemaker Rachel Stinson, and her “Top 3 White” winning Petit Manseng. Bottom right, Keswick Vineyards‘ Winemaker Stephen Barnard stands with his “Top 3 Red” winning 2016 Signature Series Cabernet Franc.

The Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival will continue with numerous pairing dinners throughout the week, a small walk-around tasting event on Thursday at IX Art Park, the 3rd Annual Rose Lunch at Barboursville Vineyards on Friday and the Grand Tasting Event on Saturday, May 4, at the Sprint Pavilion before concluding on Sunday with the 4th Annual Sparkling Wine Brunch at Veritas Vineyard & Winery. You can see the full schedule of events here.

The largest event of the festival is Saturday’s tasting event at the Pavilion, which will showcase over 25 local wineries and will provide wine lovers the opportunity to purchase their favorites to take home! The day will begin with VIP catered tastings at 12:30 p.m. followed by the general event beginning at 1:30 p.m. During the tasting event, attendees can enjoy one flight of tastings per winery while learning about the different vineyards and their styles of wine. Wine & Country will join in the festivities with our beautiful booth, where attendees can create a wine charm, shop a few items from our new Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop and take home a copy of the brand new Book Eight of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living. We’ll be attending and covering some of the other festival events this week, so be sure to check our blog for updates and to follow along on our social media!

Again, congratulations to King Family Vineyards for winning the 2019 Monticello Cup and most recently both the 2024 Virginia Governor’s Cup and 2024 Monticello Cup. We are looking forward to another year of enjoying local award-winning wine and are excited to experience all the wonderful events this year’s Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival has to offer.


Virginia Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Virginia Wine & Country Life is a semi-annual luxury print magazine with a full digital presence. The Virginia Wine & Country Gold Book is an annual guide to the top award-winning wines, wineries and experiences in Virginia Wine Country. The annual Virginia Wine & Country Wedding Planner is an art book of elegant Virginia weddings. Virginia Wine & Country tells the stories of Virginia wineries, the farm-to-table movement, luxury travel, entertaining, art and the elegant country lifestyle. Ivy Life & Style Media also provides branding, web design and PR services for the wine industry.