Student-designed label wins gold at Ontario Wine Awards

A student-created wine label for the Niagara College Teaching Winery has won gold at the Ontario Wine Awards.

NC Teaching Winery’s 2012 Balance Sauvignon Blanc was announced as the gold winner for Best Label Design at the Ontario Wine Awards Ceremony on May 9 held at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The label was among almost 550 entries in the competition. It was chosen to become one of the top 15 nominees for the Best Label Design category selected based on originality legibility and artistic merit. After its nomination to the top 15 the gold silver and bronze winners were determined by a public online vote. While gold was awarded to the NC Teaching Winery label silver went to EastDell Estates 2012 Black Label Chardonnay Sur Lie and bronze was granted to Colio Estate 2012 Bricklayer’s Predicament Cabernet-Merlot.

“NC Teaching Winery’s label design was selected as the best of the entries in the Ontario Wine Awards 2014 for its simplicity and effectiveness” said acclaimed wine celebrity Tony Aspler who established the Ontario Wine Awards. “The clean line makes it immediately recognizable on the shelf or across a restaurant. It also captures the lightness and texture of the wine and its playful allusion to the name Balance Sauvignon Blanc.”

NC Graphic Design graduate Christina Testana who will also graduate from the College’s New Media program in June accepted the award at the Ontario Wine Awards ceremony. The Thorold resident designed the winning Balance label in her third year of Graphic Design as part of a student team project during the 2012-2013 academic year with three other NC students from different programs: Alison Moore (Winery and Viticulture Technician) Christina Kristine Sigurdson (Wine Business Management) and Jessica Mucciante (Marketing). In April 2013 the team’s label was selected as winner of the Niagara College Teaching Winery’s street scene winery label competition. It became the first student-designed label for the NC Teaching Winery’s street scene bottle.

“This is a special accomplishment that not only highlights the skills of our students but also the multi-discipline opportunities created through our unique approach to applied learning” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “Through our learning enterprises and other hands-on learning opportunities our students are exposed to a collaborative approach that mirrors industry.”

“I feel honoured to be in a competition with other major corporations within Ontario. I am honoured to have many select my label that is one that stands out over many excellent pieces presented in this competition” said Testana who currently works as a graphic designer at a St. Catharines agency. “I feel that this experience was extremely helpful into pursuing my career because this was a great opportunity to advance into the marketplace with confidence in my abilities. When job searching and going for interviews I was truly confident that this experience would differentiate me from other applicants.”

The Ontario Wine Awards were established in 1995 by Tony Aspler whose vision was to recognize VQA wines for their quality distinction and brilliance. Dedicated to recognizing thousands of hard-working Ontarians the Ontario Wine Awards set industry standards of excellence ensuring a bright future for Ontario wines. Today with more than 70 wineries and 500 wine submissions the Ontario Wine Awards have grown in both size and stature. The Ontario Wine Awards recognize VQA varietal quality in 25 different categories and acknowledge winners in Bronze Silver and Gold Medal levels. There are also distinctive awards given out honouring the Winemaker of the Year White Wine of the Year Red Wine of the Year Wine Journalism Award and Best Label Design.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit



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