Niagara-on-the-Lake college wins double gold at national wine competition

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Published July 26, 2021 at 5:37 pm

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Proving they can play with the pros, Niagara College winemaker Gavin Robertson and his students in the Winery and Viticulture Technician program won double gold at the 2021 edition of the national competition last week that saw 1,365 wines entered from 217 Canadian wineries.

It’s the first double gold for a college-produced Sauvignon Blanc, making it the college’s best showing for the varietal yet, Robertson said.

But Robertson and his students weren’t done yet, winning two silvers for their 2019 Dean’s List Savant (Red icewine category); and their 2018 Balance Gamay Noir (Gamay Noir category).

All are wines that Robertson and his students don’t make every year, which makes the results particularly notable, he said in a release. In fact, the Balance Gamay Noir is only the second Gamay vintage produced in the program.

More than a bragging right, though, these latest awards show that students in the program work with high-quality fruit and turn out vintages that can compete with those from other Canadian wineries, said Robertson. They also speak to the quality of education happening at the College.

“For a small winery, we have dozens of SKUs with grapes and styles that someone in the industry is making,” Robertson said. “That’s really important since we are a teaching winery.”

Niagara College’s Teaching Winery, the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada, is located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, along with the NC Teaching Brewery and the NC Teaching Distillery, which were also the first of their kind in Canada.

(Photo of Gavin Robertson courtesy of Niagara College)

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