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The Best of Ontario Wines Celebrated at Awards Gala Event in Niagara-on-the-Lake 

The ninth annual Ontario Wine Awards took place April 30 at Queen's Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake celebrating the premium quality of local Ontario wines. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded in 24 categories based on the judging results of six tasting panels. The most prestigious Toronto Star Wine of the Year trophy was awarded to Niagara College Teaching Winery 2002 Pinot Noir for receiving the highest aggregate score of the competition.

The Ontario Wine Society's Winemaker of the Year Award went to Ann Sperling of Malivoire Wine Company in recognition of her consistent, yet innovative, ability to produce quality wines from a broad spectrum of Ontario-grown grapes. The traditional prize, a Movado watch, was presented to Ann for her leadership role in Ontario winemaking.

The Ontario Wine Awards introduced a special award this year for Ontario's most accomplished Ontario sommelier blind taster of Ontario wines. Sommeliers actively working in Ontario restaurants were invited to participate in a blind tasting of eight Ontario wines. The recipient of the Riedel Ontario Sommelier Award went to Karen Rossi, of the Pillar & Post Inn.

Commenting on the results, Tony Aspler, founder and executive director of the Awards, said, "the gold, silver and bronze results from this year's Ontario Wine Awards emphasize the large number of Ontario wineries producing wines to the very highest standards in Ontario. From very small boutique to large commercial Ontario wineries, these results indicate a province-wide commitment to the highest standards of wine production. The entries increase each year at an astonishing rate, proving the dedication that local vintners have to producing world-class wines." He went on to say, "the Awards keep growing, and with the addition of new categories such as the Riedel Ontario Sommelier Award and the overall generousity of our sponsors, there is no limit in sight to this event."

The 2004 competition drew a record-breaking 453 entries in 24 categories, which were evaluated blind by six panels of professional tasters. Each panel has a long history of assessing wines from around the world and their selection of gold, silver and bronze is an indication of high quality for the consuming public.

The event was hosted by Seamus O'Regan of CTV's Canada AM and Tom Braybrook, councillor for the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, who showed his continued support of the industry by attending and briefly addressing the audience.

 

 

 

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