Niagara College Teaching Winery takes home Best in Show - The Royal Wine Competition toasts 2015 winners
© Mike Keenan
The judges in The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's 7th annual wine competition are raising their glasses to the Niagara College Teaching Winery. The student-run winery at the college's Niagara-on-the-Lake campus took home Best in Show Red and Best in Show Overall prizes for its delicious 2012 Dean's List Merlot in The Royal's wine competition earlier this month.
"It is a real honour to be recognized for such a prestigious wine award, particularly with consideration to the wide field of extremely high-quality VQA wines from well-established Ontario wineries that this competition attracts," said Gavin Robertson, Winemaker at the Niagara College Teaching Winery.
Robertson said the warm 2012 growing season in Niagara helped produce spectacular later-ripening red Bordeaux varieties with a good balance of flavours and structure.
"I'm happy that we were able to carry this quality through to bottle, and it's wonderful that the end product of a great growing season in the vineyard and gentle handling in the winery should be recognized as it is now," he said.
Other winners at the event included Frisky and Gamble Cellars in Port Dover who won Best in Show White for their Smoke and Gamble Chardonnay, Megalomaniac Winery in Vineland who won Best in Show Rosé for their Pink Slip Rosé and Sue Ann Staff Winery in Jordan who won Best in Show Dessert for their Howard's Vidal.
Winning wines will be served at dining venues at The Royal and featured at various events during its 10-day run from November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place in Toronto.
The event, run in co-operation with the Independent Wine Education Guild, served up an opportunity for wineries to earn recognition for VQA wines made with 100% Ontario grapes from a judging panel of some of the province's most-respected experts.
The Independent Wine Education Guild is recognized as the premier organization for wine and spirits education in Canada. Its experienced faculty have graduated thousands of students, many of whom have progressed to leading positions in the Canadian wine and spirits industry.
John Switzer, a Toronto wine writer, educator and chief judge at the Guild, oversaw the judging panel at The Royal Wine Competition.
"The quality of the wines that competed this year was high," Switzer said. "It was also satisfying to see the high quality of the red wines submitted to the competition, considering that many think Ontario is a place only known for its whites. This was a very positive aspect of the competition."
Guild Executive Director Paul Miles said The Royal Wine Competition helps raise the profile of participating wineries and Ontario's wine industry as a whole.
"The more consumers know about VQA wines and get to try them, the more they learn that our wines are as good or better in many cases than top wineries from around the world," he said.
Organizers are hoping to build on the success of this year competition and draw even more entrants next year.
"The Royal is all about celebrating the best of Ontario's agricultural and food industries, which makes it an important venue for wineries to showcase their wines to thousands of visitors from across the country," Switzer said.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit