SOE Wine Festival hosts Lake Erie North Shore wine awards



By Ron Giofu


Some of the region’s top wines were recognized last week as the Lake Erie North Shore (LENS) awards were handed out.

Presented by the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival committee, the event was held in the community room at the UCCU Complex. Judging was done by the Wine Judges of Canada.

LENS Awards“This year, we had entries from 11 different wineries and a 20 per cent increase in the number of entries from last year which reflects the growing number of wineries and types of wines being produced in this region,” commented Gary Koestler of the Wine Judges of Canada.

In all, there were 11 gold medals handed out, 24 silver medals and 19 bronze medals.

“The infancy of Ontario wines is clearly in the rear-view mirror,” said Koestler.

Wine Judges of Canada chair Steve Gunning was equally impressed with the region’s wines.

“The Lake Erie North Shore wine region continues to show improvement in not only the variety of wine being made but, more importantly, the quality of wine being made,” said Gunning. “I am impressed by the ripeness and fruit forwardness of these wines and by how well some of the younger wines are drinking. It is clear the winemakers in the LENS region are continuing to improve their skills as this region evolves.”

Gunning noted that judges sat at tables of five and had no idea who produced the wine they were drinking. A table captain helped keep discussion on course while scores were tabulated after the judging.

“It’s not an precise science,” he said. “It’s a people thing.”

In addition to the wineries receiving awards, the first ever EPIC (Essex Pelee Island Coast) Wine Ambassador Recognition Award was presented. Local wine expert and Shores of Erie Wine Festival committee member Gary Killops was the first recipient.

Festival co-ordinator Kelly O’Rourke stated the evening would not have been possible without the winemakers and the Wine Judges of Canada.

“It has been a group effort,” added festival committee chair Karen Gyorgy. “This evening would not have been possible without the wineries.”

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