The third annual BC Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards crowned winners Thursday night, which included a big victory for Penticton’s Upper Bench Estate Winery.
Its 2019 riesling was named wine of the year, presented at the virtual ceremony by the Lieutenant Governor of BC herself, Janet Austin.
The award went to Upper Bench proprietors Shana and Gavin Miller, with their wine picked out of more than 740 provincial entries appraised by 14 prestigious judges.
“It’s an honour. We work hard, we try to produce consistent good wines, and it’s good to get noticed and good to know that other people who know what they’re talking about are seeing what you’re doing,” Gavin Miller, who co-owns Upper Bench with his wife Shana, said.
He describes this riesling as drier than your average.
“It’s slightly off dry, but rieslings generally have a reputation for being very sweet which is something I don’t like particularly. It’s all fruit from our estate, either from Upper Bench vineyard here or we lease a vineyard in Naramata and that’s where the other half of the fruit comes from, so all fruit we’ve grown which is really nice,” Miller explained.
The 2019 riesling can be purchased daily at the winery itself or on their website, with free shipping in BC.
A host of wines from up and down the Okanagan Valley also received accolades. Here is the full list of platinum winners:
- Lake Breeze Vineyards Riesling 2017
- Tantalus Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2017
- O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars Riesling 2019
- Arrowleaf Cellars Pinot Noir 2018
- SpearHead Winery, Pinot Noir Saddle Block 2018
- SpearHead Winery Pinot Noir Cuvée 2018
- Mission Hill Family Estate Perpetua 2018
- Therapy Vineyards Chardonnay 2018
- Terravista Vineyards Albariño 2019
- Deep Roots Winery Parentage Red 2018
- Nk’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Syrah 2017
- Laughing Stock Vineyards Syrah 2017
- Moraine Estate Winery Syrah 2018
- Three Sisters Winery Syrah 2018
- Deep Roots Winery Syrah 2018
“I am delighted the partnership between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society has continued to flourish, giving us the opportunity to recognize the best of BC wines,” the Honourable Janet Austin said.
“The wine industry thrives on creativity, curiosity and craftsmanship. It also requires courage and tenacity in the face of many challenges and uncertainties. This year had an added layer of complexity due to COVID-19, but the incredible showing of the 2020 Wine Awards indicates B.C. wine will continue stronger than ever in the time ahead.”
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