Wineries in the Okanagan Valley were given the accolade on the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in B.C. Wine this week.
For Upper Bench Winery and Creamery, on the Naramata Bench, it was their first time to be honoured with the award that was handed out by the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, on Thursday.
“This is a great honour,” said winemaker and co-owner Gavin Miller. “We are humbled to join our fellow and previous winners with our Chardonnay, and look forward to welcoming the Lieutenant Governor and members of the Consular Corps to Upper Bench.”
Miller said that this award is special. It’s one he has won as winemaker for other wineries, but this is the first time he has received it under his own brand. There is no matching Lieutenant Governor’s award for the cheeses made at Upper Bench by his wife Shana, but Guichon joked that maybe it was time to look at creating one, after sampling some of Shana’s creations with the wine.
One of only 12 awards given, Upper Bench’s 2015 Chardonnay was selected from 486 wines that were entered this year. A subtly oaked Chardonnay – 50 per cent fermented in French oak barrels – the wine has excellent balance and structure, with bright fruit and a strong reflection of the Naramata Bench terroir. In addition to this recognition, the wine recently won silver medals at both the Cascadia Wine Competition, and the Northwest Wine Summit.
All wineries in B.C. were invited to submit their wines for blind judging by a panel of wine industry professionals. This year, 486 wines from 132 wineries were considered by a panel of nine judges. Wines submitted had to be from 100 per cent British Columbia-grown grapes and produced within the province to be eligible.
Other South Okanagan wineries that received the award include Penticton’s Perseus Winery (Invictus 2013). Wineries from the Naramata Bench that were honoured include Howling Bluff Estate Winery (Century Block Pinot Noir 2013) and in Okanagan Falls Noble Ridge Vineyard and Winery (The One Sparkling 2012) won the award. In Oliver, Cassini Cellars (The Aristocrat Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Nobilus Merlot Collector’s Series 2013), Castoro de Oro Winery (Crimson Rhapsody 2014), Maverick Estate Winery (Bush Vine Syrah 2014) and Burrowing Owl Estate Winery (Cabernet Franc 2014). In Kelowna, The Hatch Winery (Crown + Thieves The Broken Barrel Syrah 2013), Grey Monk Estate Winery (Odyssey White Brut 2014), Kitsch Wines (Riesling 2015) were also winners.
For a full list of other Okanagan wineries that won click here.