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
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
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.