Niagara College Teaching Winery wins four medals at National Wine Awards

There are four new reasons to raise a glass to the Niagara College Teaching Winery.

The Teaching Winery, located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, has four new award-winning wines from the 2015 National Wine Awards of Canada.

Along with a gold medal win for its 2013 Balance Pinot Noir (Trek Vineyard, Four Mile Creek), the College’s Teaching Winery captured three bronze medals for its 2014 College Rose, 2014 Balance Pinot Gris, and 2012 Dean’s List Merlot.

“Our winemaking team, led by Wine and Viticulture Technician graduate Gavin Robertson, take pride in producing the best product they can,” said dean of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Craig Youdale. “Our students learn in an environment that is top quality and awards for our wine show that our students are learning proper and leading-edge techniques.”

Robertson said it was an honour to be recognized within a large field of Canadian wines from both eastern and western growing regions.

“To be recognized for four wines shows that the commercial arm of the Niagara College Teaching Winery is producing wines to a high standard within the industry at large,” he said. “We aim to teach a broad, applied curriculum in a manner that will inspire and promote excellence in the field after graduation, so it’s important for the students to see that high quality commercial wine is coming out of the same facility that they use every day.”

The gold medal-winning 2013 Balance Pinot Noir, for example, was hand-sorted with the help of several first-year students on a volunteer basis during their first weeks of class. “Those same students are today just about to graduate from the Winery and Viticulture Technician program, and will soon be out in the industry making their own award-winning wines,” he said. “Part of what we do so well at Niagara College is to connect students directly to their chosen professional industries, and the story of the 2013 Balance Pinot provides a perfect example of this interactive progression.”

The National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC), held annually in June, is only open to wines grown and produced in Canada. The goal of ‘The Nationals’ is to expose Canadian wine drinkers to the best in Canadian wines. There is no restriction on price, leaving each winery the opportunity to compete with and against the best wines in the country. The 2015 tastings took place from June 23 to 27 in Niagara Falls. This year marks the 15th anniversary this national blind tasting, which began as the Canadian Wine Awards operated by Wine Access magazine. In 2012, the awards were acquired by WineAlign and re-named the National Wine Awards of Canada. This year, a record-breaking total of 1,408 wines entered into the competition from 205 wineries, and a record number of awards – 14 platinum, 101 gold, 263 silver and 375 bronze.

The NC Teaching Winery, which opened its doors in 2002, has won numerous awards over the years.  In May 2015, its 2013 Balance Sauvignon Blanc was announced as a silver winner at the Ontario Wine Awards. Last year at the Ontario Wine Awards, a student-designed label for NC Teaching Winery’s 2012 Balance Sauvignon Blanc won gold for Best Label Design. It has won at Cuvee, the All Canadian Wine Championships and Canadian Wine Awards, InterVin, and more. In October 2012, it was announced as one of the Top 25 wineries in Canada in Wine Access Magazine’s Canadian Wine Awards Winery Performance report; named number 18, applauded for its excellent range of wines and its research as a key component.

Niagara College offers more than 100, 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 Part-Time Studies 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.


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