BC's best wines celebrated

Okanagan wines were front and centre as the 22nd annual Spring Okanagan Wine Festival officially kicked off Thursday night.

Wines from around the valley took home a lion's share of the awards as the 2016 British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine awards were unveiled.

A record 567 wines were entered in 24 different varietal categories.

Within each of the categories, the judges narrowed the selection down to 122 finalists with one overall clear winner being declared the best in each category.

New this year, a Best in Show wine was chosen by the 15 judges.

The winner in this category was St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery with its St. Hubertus Vineyard Riesling 2013.

The competition was open to all licensed British Columbia wineries that use 100 per cent of their fruit grown in the province.

“There is so much to be learned about the relationship between varietal, vinification and terroir when you blind taste all the same region’s varietals against each other," said Alistair Veen, sommelier, chef and co-owner of Tap Restaurant. 

"To taste 60 of them side by side, with the ability to re-taste if necessary is a very special exercise. We really got to see who was pushing the envelope of winemaking in B.C. and tasted the full gambit of what was available stylistically,” Veen said.

Award winners include:

  • Best Cabernet Franc, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards – Cabernet Franc 2013
  • Best Cabernet Sauvignon, Black Sage Vineyard – Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
  • Best Chardonnay, CedarCreek Estate Winery – Estate Chardonnay 2014
  • Best Dessert Style Wine, Golden Age Meadery – Hearth and Fire Mead
  • Best Gewürztraminer, Wild Goose Vineyards – Mystic River Gewürztraminer 2015
  • Best Icewine, Inniskillin Okanagan – Dark Horse Vineyard Riesling Icewine 2012
  • Best Merlot, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards – Oldfield Series Merlot 2012
  • Best North American Hybrid, Monte Creek Ranch Winery – Frontenac Gris 2015
  • Best Pinot Blanc, Evolve Cellars – Pinot Blanc 2014
  • Best Pinot Gris, Arrowleaf Cellars – Pinot Gris 2015
  • Best Pinot Noir, Ciao Bella Winery – Pinot Nero 2014
  • Best Red Meritage Blend Cabernet Dominated, Cassini Cellars – MAXIUMUX Collector’s Series 2012
  • Best Red Meritage Blend Merlot Dominated, Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery – Obra Prima 2010
  • Best Red Blend, Bordertown Vineyard & Estate Winery – Living Desert Red 2013
  • Best Single Red Variety “Other”, Sandhill Vineyards Estates Wines – Small Lots Barbera Sandhill Estate Vineyard 2013
  • Best Single White Variety “Other”, Township 7 Vineyards & Winery – Muscat 2015
  • Best Riesling, St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery – St. Hubertus Vineyard Riesling 2013
  • Best Rosé, Perseus Winery – Pinot Noir Rosé 2015
  • Best Sauvignon Blanc, Therapy Vineyards – Sauvignon Blanc 2015
  • Best Sparkling, Gray Monk Estate Winery – Odyssey Rosé Brut 2012
  • Best Syrah / Shiraz, Bench 1775 – Syrah 2013
  • Best Syrah Based Blend, CedarCreek Estate Winery – Senator’s Red 2013
  • Best Viognier, Black Hills Estate Winery – Viognier 2014
  • Best White Blend, Arrowleaf Cellars – Snow Tropics 2015

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