BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards Announced

British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards Recognizes Record-Breaking Number of Wines, Honours Rafe Mair

The third annual 2020 British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards were announced last night by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society.

In 2018, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, with support from the Government House Foundation, and the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society announced a new partnership to celebrate BC wines with the creation of the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards. “We look forward to building on this important relationship each year”, says Okanagan Wine Festivals Society General Manager, Elan Morris, “and we were thrilled last night to have Her Honour, Janet Austin, be a part of the virtual awards ceremony and announce the 2020 BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine of the Year.”

“As this competition continues to grow, we are seeing not only the number of entries increase but more importantly the caliber of wines entered continues to get better each year,” says Okanagan Wine Festivals Society Judging Chair, Julian Scholefield. “Our expert panel of judges certainly had their work cut out for them!  We look forward to celebrating the list of 2020 winning wines that showcase the excellence our region has to offer and to growing the competition even more in 2021.”

“I am delighted the partnership between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society has continued to flourish, giving us the opportunity to recognize the best of BC wines,” says the Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, “The wine industry thrives on creativity, curiosity and craftsmanship. It also requires courage and tenacity in the face of many challenges and uncertainties. This year had an added layer of complexity due to Covid-19, but the incredible showing of the 2020 Wine Awards indicates BC wine will continue stronger than ever in the time ahead.”

​The competition, presented by Valley First, TricorBraun, Westland Insurance and ContainerWorld, was open to all licensed BC wineries including those that produce fruit wines and mead. Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals were awarded. The top one per cent of medal winners received platinum medals, with one wine receiving the 2020 BC Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Wine of the Year.

This year’s wine entries faced an esteemed panel of judges from across Canada.

Brad Royale – Calgary
DJ Kearney – Vancouver
Emily Walker – Summerland
Gurvinder Bhatia – Edmonton
Iain Philip – Vancouver
Justin Yamasaki, Vancouver
Kurtis Kolt – Vancouver
Matthew Landry – Vancouver
Mark Filatow – Kelowna
Michaela Morris – Vancouver
Rhys Pender – Kelowna
Sebastien Le Goff – Vancouver
Sid Cross – Vancouver
Veronique Rivest – Gatineau

After tasting over 740 wines, the judges awarded a record number of medals to 107 BC wineries that were recognized last night during a virtual award ceremony.  Rafe Mair was also honoured with the annual Harry McWatters Founders Award.  The award was given posthumously to Mair in recognition of his leadership in the creation of estate winery licenses in 1979.  While there were many people who helped promote the idea of smaller estate wineries, it was Mair in his capacity as Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs who brought the legislation forward to the Bennett government.

The 2020 British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine of the Year Award went to Upper Bench Estate Winery’s 2019 Riesling.

The top wines that received platinum medals were:

Lake Breeze Vineyards Riesling 2017
Tantalus Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2017
O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars Riesling 2019
Arrowleaf Cellars Pinot Noir 2018
SpearHead Winery Pinot Noir Saddle Block 2018
SpearHead Winery Pinot Noir Cuvée 2018
Mission Hill Family Estate Perpetua 2018
Therapy Vineyards Chardonnay 2018
Terravista Vineyards Albariño 2019
Deep Roots Winery Parentage Red 2018
Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2017
Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah 2017
Moraine Estate Winery Syrah 2018
Three Sisters Winery Syrah 2018
Deep Roots Winery Syrah 2018

The full list of winners is available at: www.thewinefestivals.com

About The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society:
The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is responsible for the development of the wine tourism sector in the interior of British Columbia. It is well known for producing four seasonally inspired Okanagan Wine Festivals in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. It is also responsible for Signature Wine Events including the Valley First Wine Tastings, and it produces and runs the top two annual wine competitions in BC: the British Columbia Best of Varietal Wine Competition, and the province’s most prestigious and oldest wine competition, the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards. For more information visit, www.thewinefestivals.com.

Media release provided by Elan Morris, The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society

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