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Aurora Cellars Comes Out on Top For Third Year in a Row at 2022 Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition


For the third year in a row, Aurora Cellars has earned top honors at the Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition. Aurora Cellars was awarded the Jefferson Cup Award for its non-vintage Brut Rosé, 2021 Grüner Veltliner and 2018 Medium Sweet Riesling. 

2022 is the 23rd year of the Jefferson Cup Invitational honoring the best of the nest among wineries from across the U.S. The wines submitted to the competition for evaluation are chosen by the organization for tastings and competitions across the country. 

The 2022 competition included wines from a total of 25 states. In all, there were 41 winners from 10 states that captured top honors. Although many expect California to dominate the awards, Jefferson Cups were won by other states, as well, including: Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio, Texas and North Dakota. 

In 2019, Aurora Cellars won a Jefferson Cup Award for its 2016 Blaufränkisch and non-vintage Brut Rosé. In 2021, its 2020 Dry Riesling, 2020 Medium Sweet Gewürztraminer and 2020 Grüner Veltliner were awarded the Jefferson Cup Award. The competition wasn’t held in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“To make such a splash speaks highly to what we’re doing and the reasons behind what we’re doing,” Aurora Cellars Head Winemaker Drew Perry says, adding the awards validate the hard work behind the scenes — in the vineyard and in the winery. “I like that our winners are not repeats. We are trying to maximize everything we are doing up here. Medium Sweet Riesling is kind of Michigan’s bread and butter — to be able to stand out in that category speaks highly to what we’re doing. It is something we should be doing well.”

Brut Rosé

This bubbly is produced with Pinot Noir from one of our oldest vineyards. Perry explains the plan behind the planting and vineyard management was always to have the grapes go into the production of sparkling wine. With the vines being spaced further apart, they are able to flourish and fill the trellis. 

Perry and his team put this sparkling through a secondary fermentation in a tank – or the Charmat method – to allow the bubbles to be trapped in the solution before bottling. The method allows the fruit tones to be brighter with less of the yeasty profile.

When drinking our Brut Rosé, you will enjoy candied cherries in both aromas and taste. Since sparkling rosé tends to have a higher acidity, it makes a great companion for any food pairing. 

In the past, it has received a gold medal during the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and a 91 point rating from both James Suckling (2019) and Wine Enthusiast (2022).

2018 Medium Sweet Riesling

If you are a sweet wine, or even a Riesling lover, you’ll want to try the 2018 Medium Sweet Riesling. 2018 brought a drawn out season with a late heatwave that helped with the aromatic development in the fruit. 

During production, Perry fermented the fruit at a cooler temperature so the natural residual sugars could stay up front and the alcohol stayed low. This allows the drinker to enjoy the expressive fruit whenever the moment strikes. 

The level of sweetness on the finish and the balance of the acidity of this delicious white variety makes it the ideal wine to sip before a meal or with a wide variety of lighter cuisine.

2021 Grüner Veltliner

The vineyard in which the Grüner grows is situated in a manner that allows it ample time to grow and ripen before harvest. To make sure the fruit remains ripe, our vineyard crew routinely remove leaves within the fruit zones to thin the crop out.

Before being bottled, the juice is fermented at a cool temperature and is aged for six months to help with its longevity. While it is aging, Perry explains the aromatics tend to stray all over the map but once it has been in the bottle for a few months, it gains its focus.

Our goal in 2020 was to give the Grüner a more blatant definition with a new-world cool climate style to highlight the aromatics of the gooseberry and prickly pear. You will enjoy strong grapefruit flavors with a mineral complex and acidic profile that won’t overwhelm intricate food pairings.

When looking to pair this variety with food, you won’t go wrong with classic Austrian dishes like sautéed kidneys or Asian spices. You can also pair it with vegetables such as artichoke and grilled asparagus.