Winning wines celebrated at best of B.C. awards

Click to play video: 'Okanagan wine society picks best B.C. bottles of the year' Okanagan wine society picks best B.C. bottles of the year
Okanagan wine society picks best B.C. bottles of the year – May 5, 2017

It was a big night for Wild Goose Vineyards at the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival Best of Varietal Wine Awards in Penticton yesterday, as they took home the “Wine of the Year” award for their Mystic River Gewürztraminer.

Over 550 wines were submitted for consideration to the awards committee, in 26 varietal categories. A panel of 14 wine experts judged the wines two weeks before the ceremony, choosing gold and silver medalists in each category as well as an overall winner.

Roland Kruger, the owner of Wild Goose Vineyards, was thrilled about the win.
“Particularly with all the amazing wines made in British Columbia, this is a great honour, to win all these ‘best ofs’ and the gold medals and to have the overall top wine in British Columbia,” Kruger said.

Kruger called the win a “super achievement,” crediting a long fall growing season in 2016 and his dedicated team for the success of Wild Goose’s Mystic River Gewürtztraminer.

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“I’m the fortunate guy that gets to reap the benefits of all the hard work done by so many,” Kruger said.

The Spring Okanagan Wine Festival is now in its 23rd year. It’s the first major provincial competition of the year, marking the beginning of wine touring season in the valley. Blair Baldwin, general manager of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, said the judges are kept in the dark about which wines they are tasting, in order to make sure the results are fair.

“All of this is done blind, nobody knows where the vineyard is, all they know is that it’s a particular wine, a varietal,” Baldwin said.

Members of the wine industry and the public attended the event, tasting and making notes on their favourites. Bill Broddy, president of gourmet picnic company Winecrush, provides food pairings to many wineries, and attended the gala to help him plan for the summer season.

“We’re testing the wines, we want to make sure our products pair well with the wines they’re being served with,” Broddy said. He tasted Wild Goose’s winning wine. “I thought it had a very interesting floral bouquet. Really nice wine.”

Established wineries like Wild Goose weren’t the only award winners. Kitsch Wines is only two years old, and it took home “Best Riesling” in the $19 and over category.

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“To come to something like this, and to have the community around us and all these professional palettes taste the wine and decide it was the best in that category, it means the world to us,” said Grant Biggs, wine maker for Kitsch.

The festival will continue until May 14, with over 80 events taking place throughout the Okanagan Valley.

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