Rusty Tractor Vineyards Chambourcin Wins Best of Arkansas Quality Wine Competition | Company
Chambourcin, a Little Rock winery, won the 2022 Arkansas Quality Wine Competition – an event that wowed judges with its array of stereotype-shattering flavors and styles.
The contest, the second of its kind, was held May 20 at the food science facilities of the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research and Extension Center and featured 30 entries. There were three judges: Justin Scheiner, Ph.D., assistant professor and viticulture specialist from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; Michael Cook, viticulture program specialist for North Texas with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; and Lorri Hambuchen, author and owner of the Wine Center in Little Rock.
Started in 2011 with the planting of 200 Muscat vines, Rusty Tractor Vineyards has since expanded to over 5,000 vines with a wide variety of grapes. Just two years after the release of its first vintage, Rusty Tractor’s 2020 Chambourcin has won best of the show.
“I’m absolutely honored to have won Best in Show,” said Rusty Tractor winemaker Riley Mason. “When you make your hard work available to the public and get great feedback, it’s extremely rewarding. I am very happy that the wines I make are so well received.
Judges for the 2022 Arkansas Quality Wine program said they were impressed with the variety of highly appealing wines made in their natural state.
“This was my second year judging the AQW Wine Competition and I continue to be impressed with the quality of wines produced in Arkansas,” Scheiner said. “There were so many different types of grapes, wine styles and flavors represented that any wine drinker could have found a wine they liked.”
Cook was also impressed by the sheer scale of the entries.
“The 2022 AQW judging was full of standout wines with some jaw-dropping surprises along the way,” Cook said. “Entries for this year’s program were organized by category so judges could sample what Arkansas had to offer from dry to dessert and white, neon pink, rosé, rich and red.
“Many wines were made with easily recognizable grapes, but a few, like Ives and Prophecy, sparked particular interest among the judges,” he said. “But overall these Arkansas grown and made wines were fantastic and a great representation of what Arkansas has to offer!”
The competition is part of AQW’s efforts to set quality standards for wine made in Arkansas, provide professional development for winemakers and winemakers, and inspire consumers to taste the fruit of the state’s vineyards and their unique flavors. The program was created last year as part of a project funded by a specialty crops block grant from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
“We were thrilled to host the second year of the competition and to see the amazing selection of Arkansas wines that were submitted,” said Renee Threlfall, Arkansas Quality Wine Program Director. Threlfall has a doctorate. in Food Science and is a Research Scientist for the System of Agriculture Division at the University of Arkansas. His work is part of the research done by the division’s Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.
Twenty-five of the entered wines received medals in the wine competition and 13 wines were eligible for the AQW designation, meaning they can display the AQW seal on labels and other marketing materials.
“Over 80% of the wines submitted to the wine competition won a medal, which shows us that the Arkansas wine industry provides quality wines for our wine consumers,” she said.
Mason said: “I think it’s important to have a standard for wine competitions that the general public can relate to. Most of the time, when you buy a new bottle of wine, it’s because you liked the label.
He said the AQW seals “associated with this contest can help drive sales and educate the public about our award-winning wines. Arkansas winemakers fight stereotypes every day and this contest can help break that mindset.” .
“Dr. Threlfall worked so hard to make this happen and I want to show my support and faith in the system she modeled. I commend her for her diligence,” he said.
Judges evaluated sensory attributes such as color, aroma, flavor and mouthfeel. Wines made with at least 90% Arkansas-grown grapes will also undergo further testing, to assess characteristics such as alcohol, volatile acidity and sulfur dioxide levels. If the wines pass the analysis and have won two gold, gold or silver medals in the wine competition, they will be awarded the Arkansas Quality Wine label.
The contest featured a new category to broaden the playing field to include wines made with less than 90% Arkansas-grown grapes.
This year’s winners are:
Best of Show — Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Chambourcin
Best White Wine — Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2019 Valvin Muscat
Best Red Wine — Post Winery, Red Muscadine
Best Red Wine: The Best of Arkansas — Sassafras Springs Vineyard, 2020 Syrah
Best Rosé/Blush — Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 2020 Muscadine
Best Sparkling – Post Winery, “Spumante” Symphony
Best Specialty – Post Winery, “Blue Parachute” Carlos
Best Dessert/Fortified Wine—Keel’s Creek Winery, 2021 “Ozark Truck”
The Arkansas Quality Wine Competition featured wines made with at least 90% Arkansas-grown grapes, including wines from the Noble and Carlos muscatin varieties, hybrid varieties such as Ives Noir, Chambourcin, Valvin Muscat and Traminette, and the state grape Cynthiana, native to the United States.
The Arkansas competition also showcased the production styles of Arkansas winemakers, with wines such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Symphony, Muscat Canelli and Concord, grape varieties that traditionally grow well in the western region of the United States. United.
CLICK HERE for more information on the Arkansas Quality Wine Program.