And the winner is…

Gina & I attended the Cuvee Gala and Awards in Niagara on Friday February 26th – billed as the ‘Academy Awards for the Ontario wine industry’, this evening made a big impression on both of us.  I had attended 5 years ago and it was a small black tie affair – more like cocktail reception.  This year was Gina’s first time and she was overwhelmed with the range of wines being served and the size of the venue.  Everything from sparkling to red icewine poured by winemakers in tuxes and cocktail dresses – many people who we did not recognize as we often meet them in the cellar or vineyards donning their finest jeans and t-shirts.

In chatting with Donna Lailey of Lailey Vineyard and one of the wine industry pioneers, she recalled the very first Cuvee event, “it took place in a hotel boardroom and was more of a small party of friends. Now look at this – we are in the grand ballroom at Niagara’s posh Casino.”  There was not enough time to visit every winery!

Cuvee marked a milestone as this evening was the 20th anniversary – a true testament of the rapidly growing industry. During the awards ceremony it gave us great delight to see winemakers who we feature in the Savvy Selections and our winemakers dinners being recognized for their outstanding wines.

And the winners are…
Here is the list of Cuvee winners (those marked with ** are featured in past or upcoming Savvy Selections). Congrats to all and keep up the great work of making fine wines in Ontario!

Red WineThirty Bench Wine Makers, Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2006 GOLD

Limited Edition Red Wine
Creekside Estate Winery , Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 GOLD **

White WineLegends Estates Winery, Riesling Reserve 2003 GOLD

Limited Edition White Wine(Tied for 1st Place)
Cattail Creek Estate Winery, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2007 GOLD **
Creekside Estate Winery, Viognier 2007 GOLD **

General List Red WineDan Aykroyd Winery, Cabernet Shiraz 2007

General List White WineJackson Triggs Niagara Estate Winery, Proprietors’ Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2007 GOLD

Sparkling Wine 
Hillebrand Estates Winery, Showcase Sparkling Riesling 2006
Maleta Estate Winery, View Old Vines Brut 2006 **

Sweet Wine
Inniskillin Wines, Riesling Icewine 2007 **
Konzelmann Estate Winery, Vidal Icewine 2007 **
Peller Estates Winery, Riesling Icewine 2006

Limited Edition Sweet WineDe Sousa Wine Cellars, Cabernet Franc Icewine 2006

Tawse Winery, Meritage 2006 **
Strewn Winery, Three Terroir 2006

Pinot Noir 
Niagara College Teaching Winery, Dean’s List Pinot Noir 2007 **
Flat Rock Cellars, Pinot Noir 2007

Cabernet Franc
Thirty Bench Wine Makers, Wine Makers Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2006
Cave Spring Cellars, Cabernet Franc Estate 2006
Grange of Prince Edward Estate Winery, Cabener Franc Northfield Block 2007 **

MerlotHarvest Estates Winery, Merlot 2006

Creekside Estate Winery, Broken Press Shiraz 2006 **
Lailey Vineyard, Syrah Niagara River 2007 **

Red AssemblageWayne Gretzky Estate Winery, Shiraz Cabernet 2006

Riesling(Tied for 1st Place)
Legends Estates Winery, Riesling Reserve 2003
Tawse Winery, Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2007 **

GewürztraminerCalamus Estate Winery, Gewürztraminer 2007 **

Chardonnay MusquéCave Spring Cellars, Chardonnay Musqué 2007

Sauvignon Blanc(Tied for 1st Place)
Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery, Sauvignon Blanc Wismer Vineyards 2007 **
Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery, Fumé Blanc 2006 **

Peller Estates Winery, Signature Series Chardonnay Sur Lie 2007
Southbrook Vineyards, Triomphe Chardonnay 2006 **
Vineland Estates Winery, Elevation Chardonnay 2007 **

White AssemblageHillebrand Estates Winery, Trius White 2007

Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of ExcellenceDarryl Brooker, Hillebrand Estates Winery
Darryl Brooker, Hillebrand’s winemaker, who raised the bar of quality for Ontario wines by bringing his extensive experience of winemaking in Australia and New Zealand to Canada and sharing it magnanimously with his peers.

Cuvée Gold Award – Inniskillin Wines, Cabernet Franc Icewine 2007 **

Cuvée Award of Excellence in Viticulture
–  Martin Schuele, Schuele Vineyards

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