Ken Meinhardt of Statesboro was recently named a finalist in the 2008 Flavor of Georgia contest. Meinhardt's wine entry of Meinhardt Vineyard Southern Eagle wine earned him a trip to Atlanta, where he was judged with 37 other contestants.
The Flavor of Georgia contest showcases food products made in Georgia. This year, the contest drew 150 entries as diverse as organic sweet tea, a sweet pepper dressing, glazed peanuts and a sloppy Joe sauce alternative.
"We had a very good variety, a lot of new, innovative products and a lot of good entrepreneurs behind them," said John McKissick, director of the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.
"Finalists used the event to network and come up with some creative ideas for future products," said Sharon Kane, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences food business specialist and director of the contest. "Participation throughout the state was excellent this year."
Will Harris of Bluffton, Ga., took grand prize and first place in the meat category with a juicy rib eye steak, raised on his White Oak Pastures farm. Laura Darnall of Savannah won in the candy category with Candy Clay Dough, a multicolored moldable taste treat.
In the natural or organic category, Ted Dennard of Savannah won for the Savannah Bee Company 100 percent Pure Artisanal Sourwood Honeycomb. In jams, jellies and sauces, Jan and Joel Coffee of Savannah claimed top honors with Dr. Pete's Praline Mustard Glaze.
Top honors in barbecue and hot sauces went to Sue Sullivan of Atlanta for Hot Squeeze, a sweet gourmet kick in the taste buds. In the wine category, Mary Ann Hardeman of Clayton repeated her last year's victory with a different vintage — Persimmon Creek Vineyards Seyval Blanc.
In snack foods, James and Bertha Carter of Alma delivered a crunchy winner with Rockingham Fried Pecans. And in the dairy category, Ricky Sparkman and Kelvin Spurlock milked top honors with their fresh butter and milkshake-thick chocolate milk.
James Dault of Canton won the miscellaneous category with his Sweetwater Growers Infused Roasted Garlic Basil Oil.
For more information on the annual contest, go to the Flavor of Georgia Web site www.caed.uga.edu.