Raise a glass to Terence Van Rooyen

Pictured above: Terence Van Rooyen is pictured with his Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence trophy. 


Niagara College has a new reason to toast to winemaker Terence Van Rooyen.

Terence Van Rooyen, winemaker/professor at the NC Teaching Winery, was honoured with the Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence at the 2013 Cuvée gala. The award, initiated in 2000 by celebrated Canadian wine writer Tony Aspler to mark 25 years of wine writing, is given to the individual or organization who has done most to further the aims and aspirations of the Ontario Wine Industry.

“This year, the award was presented to Terence Van Rooyen for honing the skills of future cool climate winemakers for Canada and the world,” said Aspler. “Terence has spent many years explaining and practicing the production of cool climate wines for students at Niagara College. With his experience of working at and consulting to various Ontario wineries he is in a great position to instruct the province’s future winemakers.”

Dean of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Jon Ogryzlo said it was an honour for a staff member at the NC Teaching Winery to be formally recognized by the wine industry.

“Terence has played a leading role in educating the next generation of winemakers at Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute for more than five years, and we believe this award is a testament to his dedication to student success and promoting quality in the Canadian wine industry,” said Jon Ogryzlo, dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. 

Van Rooyen noted that the award indicates the wine industry’s recognition of the quality grads Niagara College sends into the industry.

“This award means that the grads from our program are sufficiently trained and knowledgeable that they can do the job (whether it be viticulture, retail or winery technician) and the industry is satisfied with the way our program is run,” said Van Rooyen. “For me, personally, I am doing what I love most, making wine and teaching and interacting with eager minds.”

The Tony Aspler award was one of two presented at this year’s Cuvée event. Now in its 25th year, Cuvée changed the format of its event, replacing its wine awards ceremony which had come to be known as ‘the Oscar’s of Ontario’s wine awards’ with an invitation for participating winemakers to pour their personal favourite VQA wine selection.  

The NC Teaching Winery has had several successes in recent years at the Cuvée Awards Gala. In 2012, it won second place in the Pinot Noir category for its Dean’s List Pinot Noir 2009, and third place in the Cabernet Franc category for its Dean’s List Cabernet Franc 2009. In 2011, it won the top prize in the Chardonnay category for its 2009 Dean’s List Chardonnay. In 2010, it 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.

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