The final results from the National Wine Awards of Canada are in, and British Columbia wineries excelled in 2022.
As the summer closes, we look at the top 10 B.C. wineries that entered a minimum of five wines, not including Icewine, and made the coveted list of “Canada’s Top 25 Wineries of the Year.” You can read the full results at winealign.com/awards.
CedarCreek Estate Winery (No. 1 B.C., No. 1 Canada )
Winemaker Taylor Whelan’s team top all the lists grabbing two platinum medals, four gold, eight silver and five bronze. We will take a closer look at the winery in the weeks ahead, but for now, the highlights are the Platinum Series 2020 Jagged Rock Syrah, the 2019 Aspect Collection Block 5 Chardonnay, the Platinum Series 2020 Jagged Rock Chardonnay, the 2020 Aspect Collection Block 3 Riesling and its 2021 Pinot Noir Rosé.
SpearHead Winery (No. 2 B.C., No. 3 Canada)
Spearhead won Best Performing Small Winery of the Year (under 10,000 cases) while taking home one platinum, seven gold, three silver and five bronze medals. Winemaker Grant Stanley leads the charge for purity at the East Kelowna winery. He, too, wowed the judges with several labels led by his 2019 Coyote Vineyard Pinot Noir, Botrytis Affected Late Harvest Riesling, 2019 Cuvée Pinot Noir, 2019 Golden Retreat Pinot Noir and a 2020 Saddle Block Chardonnay.
Mission Hill Family Estate (No. 3 B.C., No. 4 Canada)
Mission Hill grabbed one platinum, four gold, nine silver and six bronze medals. The hilltop West Kelowna winery quietly continues to raise its game using multiple vineyard sources and certified organic fruit. The arrival of chief winemaker Corrie Kreibhl has added some much-appreciated tweaks. Top picks include 2020 Terroir Collection Jagged Rock Syrah, 2021 Reserve Riesling, 2020 Perpetua Chardonnay, 2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2020 Reserve Merlot.
La Frenz (No. 4 B.C., No. 5 Canada)
Another strong year for La Frenz as they earned one platinum, nine gold, five silver and two bronze. Jeff and Niva Martin, along with daughter Elise, are Naramata stalwarts who continue to set high standards for the Naramata Bench. Look for the 2019 Syrah Rockyfeller Vineyard, the 2019 Malbec Rockyfeller Vineyard, 2019 Grand Total Reserve, the 2018 Aster Brut and the 2020 Reserve Vivant. Supplies are low so check directly with the winery about where to purchase their wines.
Black Hills Estate Winery (No. 5 B.C., No. 7 Canada)
Black Hills won one platinum, five gold, three silver and three bronze medals. It didn’t take long for winemaker Ross Wise to take Black Hills to another level. Less oak and brighter fruit did the trick, along with some stylish blending. Top scoring labels included 2020 Ipso Facto, 2020 Per Se, 2020 Chardonnay, 2020 Roussanne and 2020 Addendum.
Fort Berens Estate Winery (No. 6 B.C., No. 8 Canada)
With a platinum, three gold, three silver and six bronze medals and a Lillooet G.I. on its label, Fort Berens has put itself on the B.C. wine map. You should expect to find all these wines: 2020 Pinot Noir, 2021 Small Lot Grüner Veltliner, 2019 Merlot Reserve Merlot, 2019 Merlot and the 2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve.
Bordertown Cider & Winery (No. 7 B.C., No. 9 Canada)
Bordertown’s performance, one platinum, three gold, three silver and three bronze medals, was a lovely surprise showcasing its warm expanse of south Okanagan fruit that has its fingerprints on all the medal winners: 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019 Cabernet Franc, 2019 Malbec, 2019 Syrah and 2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve.
Quails’ Gate Winery (No. 8 B.C.; No. 11 Canada)
Another strong showing for the West Kelowna pioneer and its recently certified sustainable vineyard with six gold, eight silver and three bronze medals. The list of winning wines includes 2021 Chenin Blanc, 2020 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay, 2019 Rosemary’s Block Chardonnay, 2021 Late Harvest Optima Late Harvest, and the 2020 Pinot Noir.
Nk’Mip Cellars (No. 9 B.C.; No. 13 Canada)
A visit to this unique First Nations winery, which won five gold, three silver and four bronze medals, is a fun tasting experience. Be sure to include lunch on the patio. Wines to look for are 2019 Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay, 2019 Qwam Qwmt Syrah, 2019 Merriym Red Meritage, 2020 Chardonnay and 2020 Merriym White Meritage.
Kismet Estate Winery (No. 10 B.C.; No. 19 Canada)
Kismet joins a long list of award-winning Oliver-based wineries at The Nationals with four gold, three silver and five bronze medals. Top labels were 2020 Reserve Cabernet Franc, 2020 Karma, 2021 Pinot Grigio 2020 Viognier Roussanne Marsanne Reserve an 2019 Reserve Cabernet Franc.
Originally published in the Vancouver Sun.
Here are some more B.C. favourites recently tasted at GOW.