LENS Wine Awards recognize region’s top wineries


By Chase Ferguson

Wine lovers gathered at the Gibson Gallery Thursday evening to honour the area’s finest wineries with prestigious awards from the Wine Judges of Canada (WJC).

It was the third year for the Lake Erie North Shore (LENS) Wine Awards, sponsored by the Shores of Erie Wine Festival.

“This is a kick off to the Wine Festival,” said Shores of Erie chair-person Karen Gyorgy, “This region has exceptional wines and this event gives us an opportunity to recognize them.”

Shores of Erie works very closely with the area’s wineries to help recognize and promote them, Gyorgy said.

About 60 people filled the Gibson Gallery for the event that offered plenty of opportunity for wine tasting.

Wines were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals in a variety of classes and colours by three accredited judges of the WJC: Gary Koesler, Steve Gunning, and Claire Boulley.


Fabio and Rob Muscedere of Muscedere Estate Winery and Claudia Taylor of Viewpointe Estate Winery display their top prizes at the 2012 LENS Wine Awards

For the judges, the single most important factor in a winning wine is balance, said Steve Gunning.

“If you could put one word to the expression of excellence it would be balance,” he said.  “The chemistry of the fruit, sugar, and alcohol must be just right.”

Gary Koesler said there was a noticeable improvement in the region’s wine.

“There has certainly been an improvement in the variety, and more importantly quality of wines available in the LENS area,” Koesler said.

The judges noted the LENS region offers a unique opportunity for wine making in Canada thanks to the longer growing season.

The award for best white wine went to Viewpointe Estate Winery while the award for best red and best overall went to Muscedere Estate Winery.

“These awards really reinforce the work that we do every day,” said Fabio Muscedere. “It reaffirms our belief that this region is capable of making quality wines.”

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, Colio Estate Winery, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, Erie Shore Vineyards, Mastronardi Estate Winery, Smith & Wilson Estate Winery, and Sprucewood Estate Winery were all awarded medals as well.

The event was successful in attracting people from outside the region also.  Tony Malfara, an amateur winemaker from the Ottawa area, thought the awards were the perfect place to sample the region’s wine.

“It helps that the wine pourer is so generous,” Malfara joked. “But this is an excellent opportunity with so many wineries in one spot.”

Those who missed the LENS Wine Awards will find the award winning wineries together again this September at the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival at Fort Malden, said Gyorgy.

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