Sunday, May 10, 2009

Report from ... Ontario Wine Awards Gala Dinner & Award Ceremony – May 8, 2009

The 14th Annual Ontario Wine Awards was held on Friday night and a record number of wines entered, 501, all vying for the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in 25 different wine categories … there were also 4 other categories: Winemaker of the Year, Wine of the Year, Wine Journalism Award and Label Design Award. Thirsty Traveler Kevin Brauch hosted this event with a little better success than the previous two hosts – though you could still hear some groans and moans from the audience. I had no problem with him, especially during his sabring stunt to a bottle of bubbly, in honour of mine and my fiancées engagement – which had happened at 5AM that morning after a long-overnight journey from Detroit. I would especially like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Tony Aspler for such a special moment during his awards ceremony.

Besides myself, because she said yes, big winners included Tawse with three golds (Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir), Creekside three golds (Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) along with Malivoire and Gretzky taking home a couple of pieces of golden hardware. Wine of the Year honours were broken down into White and Red – sparing us from another year of an Icewine taking top prize. Vineland’s 2005 Reserve Cabernet Merlot was the red with a score of 91.5 and Thirty Bench 2007 Riesling took home the white prize, with a score of 90.5. Winemaker of the Year, and rightly so, went to Thomas Bachelder from Le Clos Jordanne. The Wine Journalism Award went to John Szabo for his article in The Globe and Mail “Napa North”.

And the Gold Medal winning wines are …
Wines highlighted in blue are linked back to for a full review (many are so new they have yet to be reviewed) … the rest of the winners, in the silver and bronze categories, can be found at

Sparkling Wine –
Maleta Estate 2006 View Old Vines Brut

Dry Riesling –
Thirty Bench 2007 Riesling
*winner of the White Wine of the Year Award.

Semi-Dry Riesling –
Tawse 2008 Misek Vineyard Riesling

Dry White Varietal –
Fielding Estate 2007 Viognier
*last year Fielding won for their 2006 version of this wine.

Gewurztraminer –
Tawse 2008 Quarry Road Vineyard Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer

Pinot Gris –
Pelee Island Winery 2008 Pinot Grigio

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon –
Creekside Estate 2007 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Oaked Chardonnay (under $20) -
Mike Weir Estate 2007 Chardonnay

Oaked Chardonnay (over $20) -
Peninsula Ridge Estates 2007 Reserve Chardonnay

Unoaked Chardonnay –
Vineland Estates 2007 Chardonnay Non-Oaked

Rosé / Blanc de Noir -
Legends Estates 2008 Malbec Rosé

Gamay –
Malivoire Wine Company 2007 Gamay

Pinot Noir –
Tawse 2007 Cherry Avenue Vineyard Estate Bottled Pinot Noir

Red Hybrid –
Malivoire Wine Company 2007 Old Vines Foch

Cabernet Franc –
Colio Estate 2005 Reserve Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Sauvignon –
Creekside Estate 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Merlot –
Creekside Estate 2005 Butler’s Grant Vineyard Reserve Merlot

Syrah/Shiraz –
Stonechurch Vineyards 2007 Reserve Syrah

Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends –
Vineland Estates 2005 Reserve Cabernet Merlot
*winner of the Red Wine of the Year Award.

Late Harvest –
Chateau des Charmes 2007 Estate Bottled Late Harvest Riesling

Vidal Icewine –
Wayne Gretzky Estates 2005 Vidal Icewine

Vinifera Icewine –
Riverview Cellars Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine

Sparkling Icewine Award –
Inniskillin 2006 Sparkling Vidal Icewine

Blended Red Award –
Wayne Gretzky Estates 2006 Estate Series Shiraz Cabernet

Blended White Award –
Caroline Cellars 2006 Momentum Enchantment

Best Label Design Award –
Fielding Estate 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

These and many other award winning VQA Ontario wines will be poured during the consumer tasting event (now known as Sip & Savour Ontario – which will include culinary pairings of regional cuisine), held in the Distillery District in downtown Toronto on Tuesday June 16, 2009 … tickets are on sale now. To find out more check out

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