2021 Winners


Food Category and Overall

Pimento Cheese Ravioli by Melina’s Fresh Pasta

In a Southern and Italian twist, Melina’s Fresh Pasta in Durham makes their homemade version of pimento cheese and then stuffs it into fresh pasta dough. Full of ricotta, freshly shredded cheddar cheese, pimentos, and a secret blend of spices, the Pimento Cheese Ravioli is delicious both fried or boiled and sautéed in butter until crispy on both sides. The first in her family to be born in the United States, owner and pasta maker Carmella Alvaro longed for a connection to her Italian roots and wanted to share the tradition of food made from scratch and served with love to family and friends. To bring authentic Italian food to North Carolina, she traveled to Bologna, Italy, to supplement the southern Italian cooking lessons of her mother and learned the northern Italian traditions of fresh pasta making. Learn more about Melina’s Fresh Pasta.

Honorable Mentions

Craft Category

Porcelain Teapot by Julie Wiggins Pottery

Mindfully made with porcelain clay using a traditional coil and pinch method, the Porcelain Teapot has a uniquely hand-drawn inlay with blue slip decorations and carvings to highlight the loveliness of the porcelain. Using transparent glazes allows the surface designs to stand out clearly yet gently. A studio potter in Charlotte, Julie Wiggins grew up in eastern North Carolina and is inspired by the landscapes of her childhood as well as her studies in China, Europe, Mexico, Morocco, and Central America. In combination with her studies of traditional studio pottery techniques, these influences help Julie create a body of work that reflects memories, movement, and a love of life. Learn more about Julie Wiggins Pottery.

Honorable Mentions

Drink Category

Vino di Lusso by Piccione Vineyards

Bright and bubbly with crisp notes of green apple and lemon zest, Vino di Lusso is a sparkling wine made from 100 percent Chardonnay and is the perfect bubbly for a special occasion or for simply enjoying with friends. Created in the méthode champenoise style — a traditional Champagne production method that promotes a second fermentation in the bottle — bottles are riddled and rotated weekly before finally being disgorged and corked. Dr. William Piccione, the grandson of Italian immigrants, founded Piccione Vineyards in 2010 and continues the family tradition of winemaking in North Carolina. Located in Ronda at the base of the Brushy and Blue Ridge Mountains, Piccione Vineyards grows both Italian and French varietals and prides itself on estate-grown wines that are hand-picked and handcrafted in the dry style. Learn more about Piccione Vineyards.

Honorable Mentions

Home & Garden Category

Infused Grain — The All-Inclusive Cocktail Smoker by Compass Woodworks Co.

Blending industrial elements with the beauty of wood, Infused Grain — The All-Inclusive Cocktail Smoker has everything you need to smoke the perfect cocktail. Made from a slab of live-edge hickory, TreeID 1089, the slab’s cracks are filled with colorful epoxy. The working components of the infuser are recessed into the board, and it includes an LED pushbutton switch and copper tubing that allows the smoke to travel from the infuser into the cloche. Based in Salisbury, Compass Woodworks Co. uses reclaimed or locally sawn lumber salvaged from various properties and slabs purchased from Carolina Urban Lumber Company’s TreeCycle America program, which allows the company to trace the wood’s origin back to an exact tree. Compass Woodworks Co. also offers pecan, cherry, and applewood chips for the cocktail smoker that are a by-product of planing wood for their projects. Learn more about Compass Woodworks Co.

Honorable Mentions

Style Category

Traveling Soldier by Home State Made

Inspired by family who served in the Army, the Traveling Soldier is made with a combination of distressed leather and a repurposed Army duffle and flight bag. The backpack features a padded back, side pocket, computer divider, front zipper pocket, key clip, drawstring top with flap and buckle, repurposed padded straps from an Army duffle, and a North Carolina flag patch. All the leather comes from U.S. tanneries, and Home State Made strives to use every bit of the hide. Each bag includes a vintage cow tag, many of which come from a retired dairy farm in Chapel Hill. All bags are designed, hand-cut, sewn, and finished in Home State Made’s store in Sanford. Finding the beauty in imperfections, Home State Made enjoys utilizing something old and giving it new life. Learn more about Home State Made.

Honorable Mentions