Tuesday night, the Governor’s Cup Gala was held at the Hotel John Marshall in Richmond to celebrate the best of Virginia’s wines. The competition is now in its 35th year, and after being revamped in 2012, it continues to grow as one of the most stringent competitions in the country.
Honored for her work with the Winemakers Research Exchange (WRE) was Winemaker Emily Pelton of Veritas Vineyard & Winery. She received the Wine Person of the Year award. Emily (seen above at left with David King) has lead the effort to promote research and experimentation in the wine industry as a founder of the WRE. Also honored with the Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless legislative work on behalf of the vineyard industry was David King, winery and vineyard owner of King Family Vineyards and Virginia Wine Board Chairman.
Governor Terry McAuliffe spoke to the great accomplishments of Virginia’s ever-growing vineyard industry and it’s impact on the state’s robust economy, job growth and tourism. He then awarded the state’s highest wine award to The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, located in Hamilton, Virginia, for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon produced by winemaker Michael Shaps of Michael Shaps Wineworks in Charlottesville. The winning Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with well-balanced acidity, aged in French and American oak and expresses notes of dark cherry and coffee. It is 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and is complemented by a soft tannic structure integrated with the fruit along with notes of clove and tobacco for a complexity and extended finish.
Shaps (seen above at the podium) creates wines for many vineyards throughout Virginia. “Our team is especially proud of this wine. It is a classic Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon. It is perfectly balanced and has mature tannins that are ripe but not overly extracted; and it has nice acidity,” says Shaps. “The fruit comes from mostly Carter’s Mountain [Orchard] with some additional fruit from Mount Juliet Vineyards. Carter’s Mountain has southwest exposure, constant breezes, great drainage and a slightly cooler climate to retain nature acidity.”
The evening’s celebration was a true testament to Virginia’s wine industry and it’s extraordinary talent and accomplishments. A big Charlottesville Wine & Country congrats to all!
When we asked Sean Miller, Investment Advisor of Miller Asset Solutions, for advice on choosing an investment advisor for 2017, here is what he said.
“I do not have any faith in economic or investment outlooks. None – zero. No one knows the future; it is as simple as that. What I do know is that investors can gain an advantage by choosing an investment advisor who has the following objective attributes:
LOWER FEES AND PERFORMANCE-BASED FEES: Fixed Fees below 1%, or fees below 1% including a performance-based fee, are the fee structures that absolutely align the mutual interests of the client and manager. Many folks too often forget that a dollar saved in costs or fees is actually worth more than a dollar earned from investment returns (thanks to taxes). In addition, investing in cost and fee reduction can provide far greater returns per unit of risk than anything else an investment organization can do. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that cost and fee savings represent risk-free returns to investors.
SMALLER IS BETTER: Larger firms have unnecessary administrative layers. Each layer has a cost, and the presence of each layer is disproportional to clear communication. Administrative layers are much like a placebo – present but offering no efficacy or value. There are fewer layers, if any, at smaller investment firms. Greater, direct access and seamless communication will be yours at a smaller firm, versus a larger firm.
ALIGNED INCENTIVES: Typically 100% of an investment manager’s personal capital is invested in the same positions as his clients. In this way, they act as a true fiduciary steward of shared capital. Often referred to as having “skin in the game,” advisors with skin in the game perform better and are more accountable. What is good for the advisor or manager is good for the client. This eliminates conflicts of interest. Aligned incentives are a very good thing, not just in investing but in life. The more aligned interests are the more you can base a relationship on trust. The optimal outcome is a more seamless web of deserved trust.
ABSOLUTE LIQUIDITY: Choose an investment manager who invests simply, preferably one with no proprietary products with hidden fees. Investment complexity is usually costly, unnecessary and results in your investments being illiquid [not easily converted into cash]. Liquidity is essential during times of severe market stress.
SAME INSURANCE PROTECTIONS AS ANY MANAGER: Many folks do not know that their investment account insurance protections are similar – regardless of the manager. For example, all investors have $500,000 for each account provided by SIPC (Securities Investors Protection Corporation) and then their investment custodian usually provides coverage for amounts exceeding the SIPC limits. This means all investment managers generally have the same insurance protections against fraud and malfeasance.”