The fifth and final Judgment of BC wine competition crowned its winners Tuesday at the Penticton Lakeside resort, and local wines came out on top.
Organized by the BC Wine Institute, the competition has run for five years, beginning in 2015 when world-renowned wine critic Steven Spurrier came to B.C. from his native U.K.
"We set out in 2015 to see how B.C. wines stand up against international benchmarks in quality," said Laura Kittmer, communications director with the BC Wine Institute. "During that visit, Steven said 'B.C. is not an emerging wine region, you have arrived.'"
On Tuesday, a panel of judges sampled 10 wines each from the pinot noir, syrah, chardonnay and riesling varietals, a mix of local offerings and well-known standards from around the world.
Spurrier, who attended as a judge, recalls that in his first visit five years ago, only one B.C. wine topped its category.
This year was a different story.
"Out of four grape varieties, B.C. won three. And I think winning four might have been a bit of showing off," he said with a smile. "It's fantastic."
The winners in their categories are as follows:
- Pinot noir - Arrowleaf Cellars Archive Pinot Noir 2016, Okanagan Valley
- Chardonnay - Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Tribute Series Donovan Tildesley Old Main Road Vineyard 2016, Okanagan Valley
- Riesling - Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof Wiltinger Alte Reben 2014 Mossel, Germany
- Syrah - Tightrope Winery Syrah 2016, Okanagan Valley
Kittmer said the competition will not be returning for a sixth year because it has "run its course."
"And we're just on to the next thing. I'm excited!"