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Cheers to the Best of the Best at the 2009 Indy International

Over 3,000 wines traveled to Indianapolis for one of the nation's largest wine competitions, the Indy International Wine Competition, June 16-18, 2009 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Wines from 10 countries as far away as France, Australia and Spain were judged on appearance, aroma, taste, and aftertaste by 16 panels of judges. In all, 72 judges flew in from the United State and Canada to evaluate the wines.

Rancho Zabaco Winery of Healdsburg, California was awarded the Wine of the Year award for its 2007 Reserve Zinfandel. White Wine of the Year honors went to Stone Hill Winery of Hermann, Missouri for their 2008 Vignoles. Barrel Oak Winery of Delaplane, Virginia won Red Wine of the Year for their 2008 Norton. Rosé Wine of the Year was awarded to Butler Winery of Bloomington, Indiana for their 2008 Chambourcin Rosé.

The Sparkling Wine of the Year was awarded to Chateau Frank of Hammondsport, New York for their 2002 Brut and Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery of Canada took the Dessert Wine of the Year honors for their 2007 Minus Nine Icewine.

Ertel Cellars of Batesville, Indiana won Fruit Wine of the Year for their Strawberry. The last two categories, Honey Wine of the Year and Honey Wine Blend of the Year were awarded to Winehaven Winery & Vineyard of Minnesota and to Oliver Winery of Bloomington, Indiana, respectively.

E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto, California was awarded the Winery of the Year Trophy, sponsored by the Leisure Family. The Pacesetter Trophy honors the Best International Brand of the entire competition. E&J Gallo Winery won two double gold, 17 gold, 38 silver and 32 bronze medals.

Huber Orchard & Winery of Starlight, Indiana won the Winemaker of the Year Trophy, honoring the winery that wins the most gold medals by brand at the competition.

The Indiana State Fair Wine Competition began in 1973 as an Indiana-only event. The competition began admitting entries from across the world in 1992 under Richard Vine, PhD. Dr. Christian Butzke took over the leadership of the competition in 2006.

"It is gratifying to see the Indy International's continued success," says Butzke, Chief Judge. "Wineries from all over the world value the medals they receive from this competition."

Indiana was well represented in the competition, with 25 of the state's wineries entering. Hoosier wineries took home a total of 10 double gold, 36 gold, 108 silver, and 120 bronze medals.

"The Indiana wineries went head to head with wines from throughout the world and brought home 274 medals," said Jeanette Merritt, marketing director for the Indiana Wine Grape Council. "This shows that Indiana wines are of high quality and can be judged well against any wine in the world."

Huber Orchard & Winery also won the Indian a Winery of the Year, sponsored by the Indiana State Fair. Adding to their medal count, Huber's also took home Indiana Wine of the Year for their 2007 Knobstone Chambourcin.

The Indy International has a special award division for Indiana grown wines. A wine must be composed of more than 85% Indiana grown fruit to be eligible. Huber Orchard and Winery of Starlight won the Indiana-grown Fruit Wine of the Year for their Raspberry Dessert Wine. Butler Winery of Bloomington the French-American Wine category for their Chambourcin Rosé. Oliver Winery the Indiana-grown American Wine of the Year for their 2007 Creekbend Catawba. Huber Orchard & Winery won the Indiana-grown Vinifera Wine of the Year 2007 Knobstone Cabernet Franc.