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 in recognizing the best of British Columbia wines with the creation of the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards.
The British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards replaced the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in B.C. Wine and the B.C. Wine Awards. The new competition is open to all licensed wineries in British Columbia, including fruit wines and mead. Bronze, silver and gold medals are awarded, with the top 1% of medal winners receiving the Lieutenant Governor’s platinum medal and with one wine receiving the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Best Wine in British Columbia.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines were established in 2003 to recognize excellence in the province’s wine industry. All wineries in British Columbia are welcome to submit up to four of their wines for blind judging by a panel of wine industry professionals. The wines submitted must be made from 100% British Columbian grown grapes and produced in province to be eligible. Since its inception, the program has grown steadily each year. The award was established in 2003 by The Honourable Iona Campagnolo when she was Lieutenant Governor.
In 2018 a few changes will occure. The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, will manage and carry the costs of the judging. It rebrands as The British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards. Bronze, silver and gold medals are awarded, with the top 1% of medal winners receiving the Lieutenant Governor’s platinum medal and with one wine receiving the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Best Wine in British Columbia.
The main points…
• The BC Wine Awards, under the auspices of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, will manage and carry the costs of the judging. It rebrands as The British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards
• Wines entered must be 100 percent BC grown.
• The Premier’s Award will become the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Best Wine in BC
• The Platinum Award will become the Lieutenant Governor’s Platinum Award. A maximum of 15 wines will be awarded in a given year.
• The Lieutenant Governor will still endeavour to present the awards in person.
• There will be a formal dinner and recognition for the winners at Government House
The 2021 British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine of the Year Award went to Tantalus Vineyards 2018 Old Vines Riesling
The top wines that received platinum medals 2021
Arrowleaf Cellars – 2019 Riesling
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery – 2019 Syrah
CedarCreek Estate Winery – 2020 Platinum Home Block Rosé
Chain Reaction Winery – 2019 Tailwind Pinot Gris
ENRICO WINERY – 2020 Shining Armour Pinot Gris
Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Winery – 2018 Estate Riesling Icewine
Kismet Estate Winery – 2018 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Liquidity Wines – 2020 Rosé
Maan Farms Estate Winery – 2020 Raspberry Table Wine
Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Terroir Collection Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc
Mission Hill Family Estate – 2019 Perpetua
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2020 Original Vines Sémillon
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery – 2018 Reserve Syrah
Silhouette Estate Winery – N/V Boyd Classic Cuveé
Silkscarf Winery – 2017 Syrah-Viognier
SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Saddle Block
SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Cuveé
SpearHead Winery – 2019 Pinot Noir Golden Retreat
Tantalus Vineyards – 2018 Chardonnay
Three Sisters Winery – 2019 Rebecca
Wine of the year 2019 is:
Deep Roots Syrah 2017 (Naramata Bench) $29.48—which edged out other strong Syrah finishers.
Founder’s Award to the late Harry McWatters.
Winners of Platinum Awards (which replaced the original BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in BC wine) are:
Black Hills Estate Winery Roussanne 2017 (South Okanagan) $29.90 • C.C. Jentsch Cellars Syrah 2016 (South Okanagan) $31.90
Deep Roots Winery Parentage Red 2016 (Naramata Bench) $32.56
Lake Breeze Vineyards Aura Pinot Noir 2017 (Naramata Bench) $40.00
Harper’s Trail Pioneer Block Riesling 2018 (Thompson Valley) $18.29
Moon Curser Vineyards Touriga Nacional 2017 (South Okanagan) $39.99
Nk’Mip Cellars Winery Qwam Qwmt Riesling 2018 (South Okanagan) $ 23.99
Privato Vineyard and Winery Tesoro Pinot Noir 2016 (North Okanagan) $34.69
Road 13 Vineyards Syrah Malbec 2017 (South Okanagan) $32.17
Sandhill Riesling Icewine 2018 (Okanagan Valley) $47.00
Van Westen Vineyards Vulture Cabernet Franc 2016 (Naramata Bench) $40.00
Wayne Gretzky Okanagan Signature Series Shiraz 2016 (Okanagan Valley) $ 24.99
2018* platinum medal
Sperling Vineyards Sparkling Brut 2011 ($43.49 for 200 six-packs). This is a traditional Champagne method wine made with Pinot Blanc from a 1996 planting. The wine spent five years on the lees before being disgorged. It has classic bready/bisquity aromas and flavours from time on the lees. There are also flavours of citrus and apple. Good acidity gives the wine a crisp, tangy finish. The bubbles are fine and persistent. (My tasting notes.)
Black Hills Estate Winery Syrah 2016 ($39.90). This vintage of Syrah is elegant, offering notes of blackberry, blueberry, and black & white pepper on the nose with hints of cocoa and eucalyptus lingering in the background. Soft, supple tannins dominate the palate with rich black fruit carrying through for a mouth-watering finish. This wine will pair well with wild game and hearty red meat dishes. Enjoy now or cellar for up to eight years.
Hillside Estate Winery Reserve Pinot Gris 2017 ($24). Our classic Pinot Gris—luscious ripe fruit created scents of orange blossoms and vanilla mingled with tropical fruit aromas followed by a rich and supple mid-palate.
Kismet Estate Winery Syrah Reserve 2016 ($39.99). Syrah is especially suited to the warm dry climate of the South Okanagan, where it reaches full ripeness with deep purple colour and spicy aromas. Aged for 18 months in new French and American oak barrique barrels. Bright cherry red colour with a good depth and bluish hues at the rim. Intense red currant and red berry fruit aromas along with spice and vanilla. A lively, vibrant palate with intense flavours.
Kismet Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve 2016 span>($39.99). Smokey toasty, blackberry, black cherry and leather. Sumptuous soft and seamless texture. Focused acidity lifts the fruit of this viscous wine. Structured bold and emery tannins complete the finish. Aged for 18 months in French and American barrique barrels.
Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016 ($25.90 but sold out). Best wine of the show. This wine is a medium bodied elegant red with rich aromas and flavours of strawberries and plum, followed by a touch of warm spice. Well integrated tannins and generous length reflects the terroir of this estate grown Pinot Noir. An excellent structured wine designed for food.
Little Engine Winery Silver Pinot Noir 2016 ($35).A beautiful ruby colour wine that beckons with initial notes of savoury herbs, dried brush and red fruit leather. Fresh and juicy start on the palate with bing cherries and dried hibiscus with a considerably lengthy finish highlighting spicy red fruits, anise and a touch of tarragon. Approachable and silky upon release this wine will develop well through 2023 under ideal cellaring conditions.
Moon Curser Vineyards Touriga Nacional 2016 ($39.99). The 2016 Touriga Nacional is a dry, medium-bodied red wine with a nose of spice, red fruits, fennel seed and floral notes. The palate is similar to the nose but with hints of leather, tobacco and cedar. Medium weight, with a silky mouthfeel and approachable tannin and acid structure, the wine delivers an intriguing profile of savoury and fruity characters.
Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay 2016($28.99).span>These Chardonnay grapes were whole-bunch pressed to extract the highest quality of juice. Complete malolactic fermentation during 10 months in French oak barrels developed the unique bouquet and mouth-feel. Rich and nutty in flavour, offering lots of caramel, marzipan and pear. Enticing and aromatic with subtle layering of honey and pineapple is followed by a lingering vanilla finish.
Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Totally Botrytis Affected Optima 2017 ($28.99 for 375 ml). For more than 25 years Quails’ Gate has become known for this wonderfully unique dessert wine. Our Optima grapes are grown at the base of the Quails’ Gate Estate vineyards where the proximity to the lake encourages a micro flora known as Botrytis Cinerea or Noble Rot to grow on the ripe grapes, which concentrates the flavours and intensifies the sugars to produce a Sauterne-style wine.
Rust Wine Co. Syrah 2016 ($37). Q Block is situated on the northern edge of the Black Sage Bench in Oliver. Sandy loam soils and a western aspect produce a Syrah with ripe black fruits, cracked pepper and olive notes. Will continue to age well for 5+ years.
Wild Goose Vineyards Mystic River Pinot Blanc 2017 ($16.52) The lovely aromas and flavours of this wine make it one of the unsung heroes of BC wines. This small production wine has a nose that shows melon & minerality, while the palate tastes of pear and white pepper. The buttery mouthfeel is balanced with a lengthy finish that goes on and on and …
Wild Goose Vineyards Riesling 2017 ($16.52). This fruit forward Riesling comes from estate grown grapes, including the 33-year-old Wild Goose Vineyards and the 11-year-old Secrest Vineyards. Sweet reserve is added to balance the refreshing racy acidity, a “classic” method of winemaking. The nose shows aromas of floral, spice and apricot, while flavours of minerality and citrus follow.
* tasting notes are those of John Schriener or the winery. I have tasted the Wild Goose wines and Lake Breeze they are all outstanding wines.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Cabernet Franc 2014
The Aristocrat Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 *
Nobilus Merlot 2013 *
Castoro de Oro Estate Winery
Crimson Rhapsody 2014
Gray Monk Estate Winery
Odyssey White Brut 2014
Crown + Thieves “The Broken Barrel” Syrah 2013
Howling Bluff Estate Winery
Century Block Pinot Noir 2013
Maverick Estate Winery
Bush Vine Syrah 2014
Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery
“The One” Sparkling 2012
Upper Bench Estate Winery
Upper Bench Estate Chardonnay 2015
This year, 504 wines were submitted by 135 wineries. Wines submitted had to be from 100% British Columbian grown grapes and produced in province to be eligible.
Bordertown Vineyards & Estate Winery 2013 Living Desert Red
Ex Nihilo Vineyards
2014 Pinot Noir
Gold Hill Winery
2013 Meritage Family Reserve
Hester Creek Estate Winery 2013 Syrah Viognier
Intersection Estate Winery
2013 Cabernet Franc
Kismet Estate Winery
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Lunessence Winery & Vineyard
2014 Riesling Icewine
Okanagan Crush Pad Winery 2014 Haywire The Bub
2014 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay
Red Rooster Winery
2012 Reserve Merlot
Ruby Blues Winery 2015 Commune Viognier
St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery 2014 Riesling