NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — It’s a vintage year for Niagara College’s teaching restaurant. Benchmark Restaurant, located within the college’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, has won a 2015 Licensee of the Year Award at the Niagara Wine Festival. The award was presented to CFWI staff on Sept. 18 as part of the festival’s annual RBC Ontario Awards, which honour supporters of Ontario’s grape and wine industry.
“An important role of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute is to support our VQA winemakers throughout our region,” said CFWI dean Craig Youdale. “This award for Benchmark shows our focus on top quality VQA wines and providing a beautiful venue to showcase these amazing products from our regional winemakers.”
Benchmark offers a 100 per cent VQA wine list showcasing 45 available wines from 30 Niagara wineries, as well as from the Niagara College Teaching Winery. Different wineries are featured each season, available by the taster or by the glass, as well as an alumni selection showcasing the successes of graduates of the college’s wine programs.
Benchmark also showcases food, wine and beer created, prepared and presented by CFWI students. Its rotating menu is local and seasonal and includes college-grown, regional and provincial bounties. Students undergo monthly training with tours and tastings from the college’s on-site teaching winery, and visits to local wineries in Niagara, all under the tutelage of the college’s wine professors and on-site sommeliers.