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Mr. Witherell, a judge from the 2001 competition, complained that too many wines were eliminated last year. As a writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2001, he failed to even acknowledge the competition in his column and requested that he not be considered a judge in the future. This request was indeed honored by the Wineries Association.

But let's look at how Virginia wines are performing in national and international competition. The international competition in Los Angeles saw Virginia receive 10 medals including a gold by Chrysalis. In San Francisco, 134 wines received golds, eight of which went to six Virginia wineries. The Grand Harvest International Competition in California brought Virginia an additional 51 medals. The Riverside International in California saw Virginia collect 20 more, including the Chairman's Award given to Gray Ghost's 2001 Vidal. And finally, The San Diego National Wine Competition awarded Virginia wineries with the Best of Show and two Best of Class.

My hat's off to all the wines medaling in the 2002 competition and I hope that Mr. Witherell will give the industry the recognition it has worked so hard to attain.

Albert M. Kellert

Owner, Gray Ghost Vineyards

Member, Virginia Winegrowers Advisory Board

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