The results are in — the 2018 British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Awards were announced Wednesday in Penticton.
It marks the official launch of the 24th annual Spring Okanagan Wine Festival. The competition featured 34 separate varietal categories, and a record 572 wines were entered.
Competition was fierce, but 18 industry judges narrowed down entries to finally declare a winner in each category.
Categories were subdivided into price ranges. Whites were segmented into the above or below $19 categories, and reds above and below $26.
"You know spring in the Okanagan has arrived when consumers show up at winery doors with the Best of Varietal winners’ guide in hand," said Julian Scholefield, Okanagan Wine Festival judging chair.
The competition is open to all licensed British Columbia wineries that exclusively use fruit grown in-province. Judges include renowned sommeliers, restauranteurs and members of wine media from across western Canada.
Audrey Surrao of RauDZ Regional Table was a judge, as she has been for many years.
"The quality level of wines continues to rise, challenging us to select the best example, sometimes from flights of over 20 wines!" Surrao said.
Here is the complete list of winners.
2018 Best of Varietal Wine of the Year: Evolve Cellars, Riesling 2016
Best Cabernet Franc under $26: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Cabernet Franc 2015
Best Cabernet Franc over $26: Indigenous World Winery, Cabernet Franc 2015
Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Bordertown Vineyard and Estate Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Best Chardonnay under $19: Inniskillin Okanagan, Dark Horse Chardonnay 2016
Best Dessert/Fortified/Fruit wine: Northern Lights Estate Winery, Seduction 2017
Best Gewürztraminer under $19: Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery, Gewürztraminer 2017
Best Gewürztraminer over $19: Lang Vineyards, Gewürztraminer 2017
Best Icewine: Inniskillin Okanagan, Reserve Vidal Icewine
Best Merlot under $26: Gray Monk Estate Winery, Odyssey Merlot 2014
Best Merlot over $26: Serendipity Winery, Merloy 2012
Best other single red varietal under $26: Quinta Ferreira Estate Winery, Malbec 2013
Best other single red varietal over $26: Sandhill Wines, Small Lots Petit Verdot, 2015
Best other single white varieties $19 and under: Wild Goose Vineyards, Mystic River Pinot Blanc 2017
Best other single white varieties $19 and over: Hillside Winery & Bistro, Muscat Ottenal 2017
Best Pinot Gris $19 and under: Inniskillin Okanagan, Estate Pinot Grigio 2017
Best Pinot Gris over $19: 50th Parallel Estate, Pinot Gris 2017
Best Pinot Noir under $26: Therapy Vineyards and Inn, Pinot Noir 2016
Best Pinot Noir over $26: Quail's Gate, Pinot Noir 2016
Best reds blend other, under $26: Wayne Gretzky Okanagan, Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2016
Best red blends other, over $26: vinAmité Cellars, Hidden Corner 2015
Best Red Meritage Blend $26 and under: See Ya Later Ranch, Ping Meritage 2015
Best Red Meritage Blend over $26: Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate, SunRock Red Meritage 2015
Best Riesling $19 and under: Evolve Cellars, Riesling 2016
Best Riesling over $19: Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Organic Riesling 2016
Best Rosé $19 and under: Arrowleaf Cellars, Rosé 2017
Best Rosé Over $19: The View Winery, Pinotage Rosé 2017
Best Sauvignon Blanc: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, Dry Rock Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Best Sparkling: Gray Monk Estate Winery, Odyssey Rosé Brut 2016
Best Syrah $26 and under: Moon Curser Vineyards, Syrah 2015
Best Syrah over $26: Nk’Mip Cellars Winery, Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2015
Best Viognier: Red Rooster Winery, Rare Bird Series Viognier 2017
Best White Blend $19 and under: The View Winery, Silver Lining Estate White 2017
Best White Blend over $19: TIME Winery, White Meritage 2017