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Wine Country Ontario Wins Coveted International Tourism Marketing Award

Posted by Gary Killops on February 13, 2013

VINELAND, ON, Jan. 29, 2013 /CNW/ – Wine Country Ontario has been recognized as an international leader in the marketing of our wine region and VQA wines.  Wine Country Ontario was awarded “Best Generic Wine Body” at the recent Drinks International Wine Tourism Awards for 2013.

“This prominent award is a reflection of Ontario’s wineries and wine region, which we know are among the best in the world”, said the Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation.  “It is a testament to the strength of our wine and tourism industries that Wine Country Ontario is getting the recognition it deserves.”

The competition rewards producers, winemakers and generic bodies – be they local, regional, national or international – that attract visitors to their wineries and raise brand awareness.  Wine Country Ontario was successful over other well known wine regions in New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Portugal and Chile.

Christian Davis, editor of Drinks International, said: “Wine Country Ontario has a clear vision of what it is doing for its members. It has a good, easy-to-navigate website – which is absolutely essential in this day and age – and works proactively with regional associations that create and instigate most of the real grassroots promotional work. A worthy winner of the Wine Tourism Awards’ Best Generic Wine Body category.”

Wine Country Ontario produces an annual campaign in partnership with the Government of Ontario and its industry.  Its programs are a key driver of awareness and travel to Ontario’s wine regions.

“Whether you are a winery in Prince Edward County, Beamsville, Niagara on the Lake or Pelee Island, this award acknowledges the power of our collaborative approach”, added Ed Madronich, Chair of the Wine Council of Ontario.  “We are a world-class wine region with world-class wineries, experiences and, of course, wines.  This award is yet another confirmation that Ontario has arrived on the world stage.”

For information on Wine Country Ontario visit winecountryontario.

PRESS RELEASE: All Canadian Wine Championships

Posted by Gary Killops on February 12, 2013



From: Bev Carnahan

All Canadian Wine Championships

February 12, 2013

Windsor, Ontario

Yesterday Red Point Media announced their decision to drop Wine Access magazine and its wine competition,  the Canadian Wine Awards , from their portfolio.  While this is a definite setback for Wine Access and the Canadian Wine Awards and indeed a great disappointment for all Canadian winemakers and wine consumers alike, we are confident this acclaimed publication will find a new publishing partner soon.

Since there has always been confusion  between their competition and the All Canadian Wine Championships, we want assure all Canadian wineries that the two are indeed separate entities and that the All Canadian Wine Championships  is definitely still in operation. Indeed it remains Canada’s oldest and largest competition for Canadian wines and we are are currently ramping up for our 33rd annual judging in May, 2013.

To all Canadian wineries who have participated in the All Canadian Wine Championships in the past and especially to the growing ranks of fledgling operations eager to compete against Canada’s best wines, we extend our invitaion to enter the 2013 All Canadian Wine Championships. Entries have been mailed recently and inquiries may be directed to or by visiting the website

With regards,

Bev Carnahan

All Canadian Wine Chamoionships, Director

Kittling Ridge Estate Wines & Spirits to Rebrand as Forty Creek Distillery

Posted by Gary Killops on August 2, 2012

 Grimsby, Ontario – Today, Kittling Ridge Estate Wines & Spirits, announced that it would rebrand as Forty Creek Distillery, effective August 2012.

“We believe our new name better reflects our growth over the past 20 years, and our vision to produce handcrafted, Canadian–made spirits,” says John Hall, owner and CEO. “We decided on Forty Creek Distillery because we wanted our new name to pay tribute to our local heritage.”

Forty Creek Distillery is named for Forty Mile Creek, a tributary of Lake Ontario. Early in its history, the town now called Grimsby was a small settlement known as The Forty. The settlement developed around Forty Mile Creek, so-named because it was believed to be 40 miles from Niagara Falls.

Forty Creek Distillery is divesting of its wine brands and wine stores. The move will allow Forty Creek Distillery to concentrate exclusively on driving their spirit brands forward, and make room for the growth of its spirit portfolio, which includes three new products launching this fall: Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, a bold and rich Canadian Whisky bottled at 43 per cent alcohol by volume, Forty Creek Cream Liquor, the first Canadian made cream whisky, and Forty Creek Port Wood Reserve, a limited edition whisky that is being re-released due to popular demand.

Forty Creek Distillery will continue to operate at its current location in Grimsby. Hall stated “Our workforce and our business have grown considerably and our employee’s passion and commitment will continue to drive our on-going success. We’ll continue to build our brands and develop new offerings by working in close partnership with our retail customers. ”


About Forty Creek Distillery:

Located in Grimsby, Ontario, Forty Creek Distillery is the largest independently Canadian-owned craft distillery in Canada. Its portfolio of brands include; Forty Creek Whisky, Prince Igor Vodka, Canada Gold Whisky, Bolivar Liqueur, Small Cask Brandy and Alpenbitter No. 7. Forty Creek Distillery is known internationally for its quality spirits and has won numerous awards at prestigious tasting competitions around the world.
About John K. Hall:

John K. Hall has been a successful winemaker in Ontario since 1970, and distiller since 1992. “When I began making wines in Ontario over 40 years ago, there were about 7 wineries in the province. Today, there are more than 100. I’m proud of the contribution we pioneers made in the early days,” says Hall. Over the past ten years, Hall has become world renown as a distiller due in large part to his Forty Creek Whisky. “I would like to think that we’re helping to revive the craft distillery business here in Canada.”

2012 Lake Erie North Shore Wine Awards Results

Posted by Gary Killops on July 20, 2012

2012 Lake Erie North Shore Wine Awards Results
Conducted by Wine Judges of Canada

2012 Lake Erie North Shore Wine awards

Best Red Wine (& Over All)
Muscedere 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Best White Wine
Viewpointe 2011 Auxerois



Medals awarded to Each Winery


Viewpointe x 3 Gold
(2011 Auxerois, 2007 Cab Franc, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc)

Muscedere x 2 Gold
(2010 Meritage, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon)

Sprucewood x 2 Gold
(2011 Unoaked Chardonnay, 2010 Lady In Red)

Cooper’s Hawk x 1 Gold
(2010 Cabernet Franc)

Erie Shore x 1 Gold
(2008 Riesling)

Mastronardi x 1 Gold
(2008 Cabernet Sauvignon)



Coopers’s Hawk x 5 Silver
(2011 Riesling, 2011 Chardonnay Musque, 2011 Rose, 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay, 2011 Gewurztraminer)

Erie Shore x 5 Silver
(2009 Rose, 2006 Vidal ice wine, 2008 Baco Noir, 2009 summer Sun, 2008 Cab Franc ice wine)

Muscedere x 5 Silver
(2009 Baco Noir, 2010 Syrah, 2011 Pinot Grigio, 2010 Cab Franc, 2011 Rose)

CREW x 4 Silver
(2008 Merlot, 2011 POSH, 2011 Gewurztraminer, 2008 Cab Franc)

Colio x 4 Silver
(NV Girls Night Out Sparkling Riesling, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Syrah, 2011 Girls Night Out Riesling)

Mastronardi x 4 Silver
(2008 Meritage, 2010 Vidal, 2008 Oaked Chardonnay, 2008 Megan Agosta Cabernet Sauvignon)

Viewponte x 3 v
(2008 Syrah, 2007 Meritage, 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay)

Smith & Wilson x 2 Silver
(2009 Pinot Noir, 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay)

Sprucewood x 2 Silver
(2008 Meritage, 2011 Pinot Gris)



Colio x 2 Bronze
(2011 Girls Night Out Unoaked Chardonnay, 2008 Gamay)

Muscedere x 2 Bronze
2011 Riesling, 2011 Vidal)

CREW x 1 Bronze
(2007 Meritage)

Erie Shore x 1 Bronze
(2010 Unoaked Chardonnay)

Mastronardi x 1 Bronze
(2010 Pinot Grigio)

Sprucewood x 1 Bronze
(2011 Riesling)


2012 Lake Erie North Shore Wine awards

No Huff, All Fluff!

Posted by Gary Killops on June 2, 2012

Times must be good for an Ontario winery when I can’t order wine from them and have it shipped to me. This is not a interprovincial boundaries delivery which is currently still illegal until the Fed’s pass Bill  C-311. I want (or wanted) a case of wine sent to my home address right here in Ontario, within the same Province as the winery so I am a complete loss as to why I have never received a shipment from them.

Way back in the January issue of Wine Access the magazine selected the 2008 CuveÉ Peter F. Huff as the Sparkling Wine of the Year. When Huff’s sparkling wine was also selected as the Trophy winner, Best Sparkling Wine of the Year at the ”All Canadian Wine Championships” here in Windsor, Ontario I thought I better get a few bottles of this wine before it’s gone.

Huff Estates Winery is located in Price Edward County, Ontario which is a little over a six hour drive from my home in a small town just outside of Windsor, Ontario. Huff Estates can ship orders within Ontario only so I placed and order online at their web site for 6 bottles of the 2008 CuveÉ Peter F. Huff. At $39.95/bottle this was a $240 order, certainly not a large order but I am sure many Ontario wineries would be thrilled to fulfill such an order.

When ordering online I provided my home address, phone number and email address.  Several weeks passed and I had not heard back from Huff about my order so I called the winery on my dime, a long distance call but still cheaper than driving to Price Edward County and back.

A lady with a pleasant voice answered the phone and when I told her I was calling to inquire about an online order I had placed she stated that she did not recall seeing the order, stating that sometimes it happens and the web site serve does not process the order or send them an email to inform them that an order has been placed. She then proceeded to take down my information, including my credit card information to complete a new order.

The call taker advised me that since my order was over $150 shipping would be free and that she would need to check as to when delivery would be made as the courier service that they use only delivers once a week to my area. No problem by me, I even suggested that perhaps the perhaps the wine could be shipped by Canada Post, I was told that if I were have it sent this way then shipping wouldn’t be free. While I would like free shipping, paying for it would still have been cheaper than the 12 hour round trip cost to purchase the wine. Once again the call taker had my contact information and several ways to contact me.

I never heard back from Huff Estate Winery not even to tell me that they will not fulfill my order. Ironically on the eve of  Bill  C-311, I can’t even get a Huff Estate Winery to ship wine within Ontario to me.

Gary Killops

It’s All In The Name

Posted by Gary Killops on May 25, 2012

The organization formerly known as South Western Ontario Vintners’ Association (SWOVA) is proud to announce that they have a new name for their group and their backyard, not to mention a new-found optimism.   Essex/Pelee Island Coast (EPIC) Winegrowers Association has stepped into the sunshine of this inimitable wine region as ambassador to the world for the interests of its growers and wineries.

In the 32 years of its award-winning viticulture, (wines from here have won hundreds of awards on the world stagesince 1980) the region had struggled with its identity and consumer awareness as a result. Aside from the SWOVA name, the region had marketed itself alongside a plethora of banners. For the longest time it embraced the official VQA designation of Lake Erie North Shore which in reality was not a definitive point of reference.

“It was Marketing 101,” states Tom O’Brien, EPIC President. “We needed to simplify our message and develop a brand that simply told everyone who and where we are.”

As is often the case, the answers were hidden in the obscurity of being painfully obvious. “We all decided that Pelee Island was our geographical calling card,” O’Brien said. “Almost every Canadian knows where that is.” Essex was also deemed to be a key part of the region as it denotes the county wherein most of the wineries reside. And, because the exposure to the lake plays such a key role in the region’s viticulture, the word “coast” was added to create further intrigue.

Once the group of wineries grew comfortable with the name, brand and logo development were entrusted to Hook Creative, a Windsor-based ad agency. Jeff Robillard, the agency’s President mused, “we set out to visually express the regional strengths: the vine-friendly soils, the influence of the lake and the fact that we have the most sun-hours in the country. We feel the colours used and the graphic convergence of those three major elements reflect what makes this region and its wines so unique and well worth discovering.”

One other unique aspect of the EPIC personality is the partnerships forged with regional organizations such as Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) and Windsor Essex Economic Development Commision (WEEDC) which were key in the development of the new association. As well, the business model for EPIC includes growers, which is quite unique in the wine industry in Ontario.

Jackson-Triggs Unveils Summer Concert Series at Niagara Winery Amphitheatre

Posted by Gary Killops on April 17, 2012

TORONTO, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Award-winning Canadian musicians flock to wine country to perform a set of intimate shows among the vines

Did you know there’s an outdoor concert venue at the Jackson-Triggs Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Ontario’s best-kept musical gem takes centre stage this summer as Canada’s most talented take to the vineyard for a night of song and wine.

“We are incredibly lucky to have a concert theatre right in the middle of our vineyard,” said Rich Fortin, Marketing Manager for Jackson-Triggs. “It seems only fitting that as Canada’s most awarded winery, we invite some of our country’s most awarded musicians to take part in such a unique experience.”

Now in its 12th year, the open-air, Roman-style space has been home to many memorable nights and this year is no exception. Kicking off the packed calendar of performances is Sam Roberts Band on June 16, followed by a summer of stars that includes Arkells on July 20 and Chantal Kreviazuk on August 17. Despite the caliber of talent, tickets remain at reasonable price ranging from $49-$99 per person.

“We really wanted to make the concert series an experience so people could spend their entire evening with us from a glass of wine, to dinner, to concert performance time,” said Fortin.

There is no shortage of food offerings for those looking to indulge in some top-notch noshables before the show. In addition to a wide array of gourmet concessions – ranging from sausage and wood oven pizza to grilled corn on the cob and the Jackson-Triggs Burger Bar – interested guests can also indulge in an exclusive barrel cellar dinner for a more upscale four-course tasting menu.

Complete Concert Line-up:

June 16      Sam Roberts Band

June 23      Steven Page

July 7       Johnny Clegg, in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music

July 14      Jarvis Church

July 20      Arkells

July 21      Adam Cohen with the Niagara Symphony

July 28      Kathleen Edwards

August 17    Chantal Kreviazuk

August 18    Raine Maida

August 25    Sarah Slean and Royal Wood with the Niagara Symphony

September 7  David Usher

VQA Promoters’ Awards recognize dedication

Posted by Gary Killops on March 10, 2012

 Four individuals have been recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the promotion of VQA wine at the 2012 VQA Promoters’ Awards.

Since 2006, the awards have recognized individuals who consistently promote VQA wines through education and/or promotion in various areas such as retail, hospitality, media, education, Promoter-at-Large and Lifetime Achievement.

The awards were announced Saturday, March 3 at the Experts’ Tasting, hosted by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). The awards are meant to celebrate promoters of VQA wines at a gathering of their peers and in front of representatives of the wine industry that benefits from their efforts. The Experts’ Tasting is celebrating 23 years of wine education to the industry.

“VQA Ontario congratulates CCOVI on the Experts’ Tasting and VQA Promoters’ Awards,” said Laurie Macdonald, Executive Director of VQAO. “The Experts’ Tasting plays an important role to increase awareness of VQA appellations and the wines that come from these distinct terroirs, and the Promoters’ Awards recognize the unique individuals who promote them.”

The 2012 winners in each category are:

LCBO: Astrid Brummer, Ontario Wines Product Manager. Her breadth of understanding, dedication to product knowledge and commitment to academic pursuits make her an expert on the local wine scene.

Hospitality: John Maxwell and Allen’s on the Danforth, Toronto. Promoting VQA wines for more than 30 years, he prides his restaurant on serving exclusively Ontario VQA wines.

Promoter-at-Large: Angelo Pavan, Vice-President and Winemaker at Cave Spring Cellars, Jordan Village. A tireless promoter of the Ontario industry for more than 25 years, he maintains an active role in support of industry initiatives, including the last two successful Riesling Experience conferences and as a committee member and Chair of the Standards Development Committee of the VQAO.

Lifetime Achievement: Ken Douglas, co-founder of Cuvée, original legal counsel for setting up the VQA, founder of 13th Street Winery in St. Catharines. He has spent much of the last 30 years helping to develop and promote VQA wines and also assisted in the establishment of the Canadian Wine Library at Brock University.

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