Search for B.C.’s best wine

A panel of a dozen judges is tasting more than 700 wines for the 2018 Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards.
A panel of a dozen judges is tasting more than 700 wines for the 2018 Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards. Jules Knox / Global News

A dozen judges are looking for B.C.’s best wine.

More than 700 wines from approximately 100 wineries are being rated for the inaugural B.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards.

“We’re looking for the ones that really express something important about B.C.,” judge DJ Kearney said. “They have a sense of place, they’re very well made, they’re balanced, they express a great variety.”

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A dozen judges have been flown in from across North America for the blind taste test.

“Tasting wine blind makes you very humble when you see the results because you find out that you may have had a preconceived notion about a certain wine, and then you find out what it is, and you’ve given it a gold medal,” judge Janet Dorozynski said.

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Judges said they had been pleasantly surprised by some of the wines, particularly the malbecs and sparkling wine.

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Judges know the vintage and type of wine but nothing else, according to Blair Baldwin, Okanagan Wine Festivals Society’s spokesman.

“Approximately 35 to 40 per cent of the entries are expected to medal,” he said.

“On Sunday, we bring back all of the gold medal-winning wines for all of the judges to taste concurrently because they have to choose the Lieutenant Governor’s platinum medal-winning wines,” Baldwin said.

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Seven to 10 wines are expected to win the platinum medal, he said. One wine will also be chosen on a consensus basis for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for best wine in B.C.

The winners will receive their awards at a reception at Kelowna’s Laurel Packinghouse on Sept. 27.

The platinum winners will also be invited to a dinner at Government House before Christmas, Baldwin said.

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The new awards have replaced the previously-held Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in B.C. Wine and the B.C. Wine Awards.