Ontario Wine Awards Celebrates 25th Anniversary


NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — The Ontario Wine Awards (OWA) celebrated its 25th-anniversary competition this month with a record number of entries — 542 wines from 78 wineries producing VQA wines in Ontario.

“The team at the Ontario Wine Awards is privileged to have witnessed the incredible growth of the Ontario wine industry over the past 25 years — not only in the number of wineries but, more importantly, in the impressive growth in the quality of their products,” says Tony Aspler, founder, OWA.

The Awards Ceremony was held at Niagara College’s Benchmark Restaurant on June 6th, hosted by stand-up comedian Joe Pillitteri.

The OWA recognize VQA varietal quality in 25 different categories and acknowledge winners at Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal levels. The awards also include awards of distinction honouring the Winemaker of the Year, White Wine of the Year, Red Wine of the Year, Wine Journalism Award and Best Label Design. Winners include:

  • Red Wine of the Year — Trius 2016 Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc Clark Farm Vineyard
  • White Wine of the Year — Peller Estates 2016 Andrew Peller Signature Series Riesling
  • Winemaker of the Year  — David Johnson, Featherstone Estate Winery
  • Wine Journalism Award — Dick Snyder, freelance writer, for his Q&A series featuring Ontario Winemakers in Toronto Life

For its 25th anniversary, the OWA also bestowed a one-time accolade in memory of the late Karl Kaiser. The Karl Kaiser Winemaker Emeritus Award was presented to Peter Gamble for making an outstanding contribution to the Canadian wine industry over his career.

Among the wineries with strong showings at this year’s awards Megalomaniac, which received eight medals (three gold, one silver and four bronze). The Niagara College (NC) Teaching Winery also received several recognitions, including a gold medal, two silvers and a bronze — all for 2017 wines that had never been entered into a competition before.

“Canada’s first commercial teaching winery continues to lead the way in the wine industry,” says Steve Gill, general manager of NC’s Learning Enterprises. “The awards are a testament to the applied education that we offer students at our college’s on-campus Teaching Winery, where they gain hands-on experience in creating quality wines that are applauded as among the best in Ontario.”

The complete list of 2019 winners is available here.

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