Niagara-on-the-Lake campus icewine takes gold at challenge


Published December 16, 2022 at 2:50 pm

The Niagara College Teaching Winery has done it again, collecting a gold medal at the world’s most exclusive fine wine show.

Judges from the 2022 Global Fine Wine Challenge awarded a gold in the Dessert Wines category to the Teaching Winery’s Dean’s List Savant Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2019.

The Icewine comes from the Teaching Winery’s 2019 Icewine harvest, picked by wine students at a College-operated vineyard on Concession 5 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, then pressed in a student winemaking lab.

“I am proud to be a part of this team, where pushing the envelope and finding new exceptional ways to raise the bar continue to be at the forefront, said Allison Findlay, Winemaker at NC’s Teaching Winery, who is also an 2014 alumna of the college’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program.

“It is an honour to be recognized as a top contender on the world stage.”

The 2022 Global Fine Wine Challenge was exclusive to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States – the annual invitation-only competition is open to the top 120 wines of each competing country.

The best selections across 22 classes were made by representatives from each participating country, and the selected wines were transported to Sydney, Australia for blind judging.

Professor Gavin Robertson, who was Head Winemaker at the Teaching Winery from 2014 until he took on a full-time faculty role with the College’s School of Wine, Beer and Spirts this fall, recalled leading the production of the award-winning Icewine.

“We were striving to achieve a specific style within the Icewine category with this bottling: a single-vineyard, barrel-aged, complex, age-worthy dessert wine that would balance sweetness with acidity and grape and oak tannin structure, and which would evoke the true varietal character of the estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon we picked that cold night in December rather than being reduced to a more monotone, honeyed sweet wine which can happen with this style,” he said.

This isn’t the first award for the 2019 Dean’s List Savant Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine. In June, it won bronze at the 2022 All Canadian Wine Championship.

Allison Findlay, Winemaker at the Teaching Winery, says the students are always finding ways to push the envelope, explore new ways to raise the bar and continue to be at the forefront.

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