Two NCTW wines were announced as winners at the 24th annual Cuvée Awards Gala, held at Fallsview Casino March 2.
Known as ‘the Oscars of Ontario’s wine industry,’ the gala is the premiere event of the weekend celebration of wine and food. The award ceremony is the only one of its kind in Canada where winning wines are selected by winemakers.
With a record-setting number of wines entered this year – 264 wines from 64 wineries – participating wineries faced more competition than ever. Fifty-one winemakers took part in judging the wine entries in January and winners were not revealed until the Cuvée Awards Gala.
NCTW won second place in the Pinot Noir category for its Dean’s List Pinot Noir 2009, as well as third place in the Cabernet Franc category for its Dean’s List Cabernet Franc 2009.
“It’s an honour for the NCTW to be recognized by the wine industry through the Awards,” said Jon Ogryzlo, Dean of the college’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “We are proud of the hard work and talents of our teaching winery’s staff, faculty and students and of the NCTW’s vision for innovative wine education.”
In addition to the wine awards, the culinary talents of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute were in the spotlight. CFWI chef professors Sam Seaver, Dan LeBlanc, Philippe Corbiere, Osvaldo Avila, Jim McClean, Bruce Worden, as well as a number of students from CFWI’s Culinary Management and Apprenticeship programs, joined some of the hottest chefs in the region, preparing food at cooking stations at the gala.
Several graduates from the CFWI’s Winery & Viticulture Technician Program also won at Cuvée 2012 including:
*Kevin Panagapka (2004), winemaker/owner at 2027 Cellars, a virtual winery that operates from Featherstone Winery, 2027 Cellars, for 19th Street Chardonnay 2010, Best Limited Edition White Wine;
* Paul Pender (2006), winemaker at Tawse Winery, for Tawse Spark Rosé 2009 1st place in the Sparkling Wine Category for Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2009, 2nd Place in the Chardonnay Category, and Tawse Meritage 2008, 3rd Place in the Meritage Category;
* Dianne Smith (2008) winemaker at GreenLane Winery, for GreenLane Riesling 2010 Best White Wine & 1st Place in the Riesling Category;
* David Stasiuk (2009), winemaker at Rockway Glen Estate Winery, for Rockway Glen Chardonnay/Riesling 2010, 2nd Place in the White Blends Category.
This year’s award follows several recent successes for the NCTW at the Cuvée Awards Gala. Last year, the NCTW won top prize in the Chardonnay category for its 2009 Dean’s List Chardonnay.
In 2010, the college won Gold designation for its 2007 Dean’s List Pinot Noir Canadian Oak Project. In addition, CFWI dean Jon Ogrzylo was honoured with the Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence for Leadership and Vision in the Ontario Wine Industry, and CFWI wine program coordinator Jennifer Wilhelm was named Wine Educator of the Year in the Promote the Promoters competition.
Faculty and students from the Canadian Food and Wine Institue prepare food at the Cuvée Awards Gala.