This would have been the 26th year for the Ontario Wine Awards but COVID-19 prevented the usual rigorous judging of entries by 24 qualified tasters.
However, the competition organizers were determined to celebrate the quality of Ontario’s VQA wines, said awards founder Tony Aspler.
So, Aspler and his team contacted judges who had participated in the last three years of the competition, and asked them to nominate the top three white, red and sparkling wines they had tasted during the year. From their response, the top scoring wines were tabulated.
In addition, the judges were asked to vote on whom they considered should be honoured with the title Winemaker of the Year.
The results for 2020 are:
Allen's Red Wine of the Year Award: Rosehall Run 2018 JCR Pinot Noir, Rosehall Vineyard, Prince Edward County
Quench Magazine White Wine of the Year Award: Charles Baker 2017 Riesling, Picone Vineyard, Vineland
Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College Sparkling Wine of the Year Award: Henry of Pelham, St. Catharines, Family Estate 2014 Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Estate Blanc de Blanc
Quench Magazine Winemaker of the Year Award: Philip Dowell, Angels Gate Estate Winery, Beamsville
Due to social distancing protocols, the awards will be presented privately this year, Aspler said.