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The Lieutenant Governor's

Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wine

The Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines were established in 2003 to recognize excellence in the province’s wine industry. All wineries in British Columbia are welcome to submit up to four of their wines for blind judging by a panel of wine industry professionals. The wines submitted must be made from 100% British Columbian grown grapes and produced in province to be eligible. Since its inception, the program has grown steadily each year. The award was established in 2003 by The Honourable Iona Campagnolo when she was Lieutenant Governor.

In 2018 a few changes will occure. The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, will manage and carry the costs of the judging.  It rebrands as The British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards

The main points…

• The BC Wine Awards, under the auspices of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, will manage and carry the costs of the judging.  It rebrands as The British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards

• Wines entered must be 100 percent BC grown.

• The Premier’s Award will become the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Best Wine in BC

• The Platinum Award will become  the Lieutenant Governor’s Platinum Award. A maximum of 15 wines will be awarded in a given year.

• The Lieutenant Governor will still endeavour to present the awards in person. No doubt the Consular Corps will continue to tag along, in what has become a popular tradition.

• There will be a formal dinner and recognition for the winners at Government House



Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Cabernet Franc 2014

Cassini Cellars
The Aristocrat Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 *

Cassini Cellars
Nobilus Merlot 2013 *

Castoro de Oro Estate Winery
Crimson Rhapsody 2014

Gray Monk Estate Winery
Odyssey White Brut 2014

The Hatch
Crown + Thieves “The Broken Barrel” Syrah 2013

Howling Bluff Estate Winery
Century Block Pinot Noir 2013

Kitsch Wines
Riesling 2015

Maverick Estate Winery
Bush Vine Syrah 2014

Noble Ridge Vineyards and Winery
“The One” Sparkling 2012

Perseus Winery
Invictus 2013

Upper Bench Estate Winery
Upper Bench Estate Chardonnay 2015



This year, 504 wines were submitted by 135 wineries. Wines submitted had to be from 100% British Columbian grown grapes and produced in province to be eligible.

Bordertown Vineyards & Estate Winery 2013 Living Desert Red

Ex Nihilo Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir

Gold Hill Winery 2013 Meritage Family Reserve

Hester Creek Estate Winery 2013 Syrah Viognier

Intersection Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc

Kismet Estate Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Lunessence Winery & Vineyard 2014 Riesling Icewine

Okanagan Crush Pad Winery 2014 Haywire The Bub

Quails’ Gate 2014 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay

Red Rooster Winery 2012 Reserve Merlot

Ruby Blues Winery 2015 Commune Viognier

St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery 2014 Riesling


2015 Winners

In 2015, 425 wines were submitted from 116 wineries in British Columbia


BC Wine Studio Siren’s Call Syrah 2012 ($25). This big and bold red begins with aromas of black cherry, oak and delicatessen spices. On the palate, there is more black cherry and plum with classic notes of white and black pepper.

Blasted Church Vineyards Holy Moly 2012 ($31). This is 100% Petit Verdot, a late ripening variety comparatively rare in the Okanagan. The wine begins with an intense dark red colour. The aromas span the gamut from floral perfume, plum and cherry to raw steak. The wine has flavours of black cherry and plum with spice and sage on the finish. There is even a hint of graphite on the finish of a very complex wine.
Cassini Cellars Cabernet Franc Collector’s Series 2012 ($29). Beginning with brambleberry aromas, this concentrated wine has flavours of plum, blackberry and black currant, with a tarry, earthy note on the finish.

Church & State Winery Quintessential 2012 ($55). This is the eighth vintage of Church& State’s award-winning Bordeaux blend. The wine is generous in texture and in flavours. It begins with aromas of black cherry, black currants, vanilla and truffles. On the palate, there are flavours of plum, mulberry, black cherry and dark chocolate.

Enrico Winery & Vineyards Tempest (Ortega) 2014 ($17.50). This wine begins with lovely floral aromas. On the palate, it is intensely fruity with flavours of peach and lime. The residual sweetness lifts the flavours and gives the wine a juicy texture. The first Island winnery to win!

Ex Nihilo Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013 ($32). This is a seductive wine, with aromas and flavours of strawberry and cherry. It is light ruby in colour but, on the palate, the wine has a surprising full texture and persistent flavours.

50th Parallel Estate Chardonnay 2013 ($32).  This wine was fermented and aged 12 months in premium French oak barrels. The wine begins with a buttery and spicy aroma of expensive oak (think of cinnamon and apple pie). That translates to a creamy palate, with flavours of hazelnut, marmalade, baked apple and a never-ending finish. This is an elegant and satisfying Chardonnay.

Inniskillin Okanagan Reserve Riesling Icewine 2014 ($34.95 for 200 ml). A superb Icewine, this has aromas and flavours of lime and ripe pineapple, with brisk acidity to balance the residual sugar. The finish is elegantly fresh and long-lasting. Earlier vintages of this winery’s Icewine also won LG awards in 2013 and 2006.

Lake Breeze Vineyards Merlot 2012 ($17.39). This is a ripe, almost jammy wine with concentrated flavours of cassis, black cherry and blueberry.

Noble Ridge Vineyard& Winery “The One” Sparkling 2010 ($39.90). This sparkling wine cuvée is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. The wine spent about 26 months en tirage before being disgorged in June 2013. It displays the toasty, bready aromas and flavours one expects with Champagne. The bubbles give the wine a creamy mid palate but the finish is crisp and dry.

Platinum Bench Gamay Noir Block 28 2013 ($34.90). This is a dense and concentrated wine with the structure of a Beaujolais Cru (Morgon, perhaps). It has aromas and flavours of black cherry and plum. The fruit is sweet. There are savoury and earthy notes on the finish.

Red Rooster Syrah Reserve 2012 ($26). Dark in colour, this wine has aromas of black cherry, delicatessen spices, rare steak and pepper which are echoed in the flavours. The long finish is pleasantly earthy and peppery.

Ruby Blues Winery Viognier 2014 ($25). This is the third year that this winery has won an award of excellence for Viognier. The 2014 wine is fresh and vibrant with floral fragrances. On the palate, there are flavours of peach, citrus and apple. The wine is juicy and refreshing.

Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery Mystic River Gewürztraminer 2014 ($20.10). This is the eighth award of excellence won by Wild Goose in the 12-year history of the competition. It begins with intense aromas of rose petals and spice and continues with flavours of orange peel, grapefruit and lychee. The wine is dry but the exceptional fruit flavours trick the palate into perceiving slight sweetness.

notes by John Schreiner.


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