British Columbia Wine Awards and Reception
If you’re looking for excellence in our region’s phenomenal wines, then you need look no further than the British Columbia Wine Awards and Reception, being held this year Oct. 1 at the historic Laurel Packinghouse in Kelowna.
The event reveals the winning vintages as judged by 9 of the most respected wine judges from across North America and it’s also a chance to be the first consumers to sample so deserving of recognition by these esteemed judges.
And in a nod to the British Columbia wine industry, it’s also a good way to see just how far it’s come, as reflected by the wines themselves.
“I think the quality is exceptional … simply outstanding” said noted Washington-based wine expert, Paul Gregutt, one of nine members of the awards judging panel. “I think the region is on the cutting edge of what are the most favoured styles in terms of elegance and expressing the most subtle characteristics of the grapes.”
The province’s oldest wine judging competition – the British Columbia Wine Awards - which are held every fall as part of the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, are the definitive yardstick by which producers and consumers alike can discover not only the best from some of the most respected and established producers in British Columbia, but also those unexpectedly great bottles from smaller wineries.
Having grown by leaps and bounds — this year’s competition will set a record with over 550 entries from over 80 wineries — the event is a reflection of the growing economic importance the industry itself in the past 20 years.
With as high a standard as the wines have reached in general, the judges will have their jobs cut out for them. “I try to come into a wine tasting without my expectations getting in the way of discovery,” said Gregutt. “I want to let the wines speak for themselves.” With the British Columbia Wine Awards and Reception limited to only 100 lucky ticket-holders, the gala evening is a chance to witness the excitement first-hand as the awards are handed out.
As well, it’s an opportunity to actually sample many of the award winners and find out what made them stand out to the judges. It’s also as a chance to pick up on the newest trends in B.C. wines, including those grown right here in the Okanagan.
“What I’ve noted in tasting and reviewing the wines is a great diversity of styles,” said Gregutt. “That’s made possible by the unique terroir of the Okanagan and the entrepreneurial spirit of Canadians. You can do hot-climate red wines in the south and you can go all the way up to the most rarified cold-climate white wines and hybrids you head north.”
As coveted as the Gold medals are, prestigious Platinum Medals will only be awarded to those wines judged unanimously good enough to be Gold by all nine judges.
And out of those select wines, and based on judges’ consensus, the ultimate Premier’s award will be announced for the best wine in B.C. Last year’s Premier’s award winner was the 2012 Rover Shiraz- Viognier from See Ya Later Ranch, which was one of five platinum winners.