Ontario Wine Awards 2009

Written By Danielle Rose Photos By Steve Elphick

On Friday evening I had the privilege of attending the 2009 Ontario Wine Awards in Niagara. The awards were founded in 1995 by Tony Aspler as a way to recognize the growth and quality of the Ontario wine industry. The growth of the Ontario Wine Awards led to the creation of 'sip Ontario', a program developed to publicly showcase VQA award-winning wines. Eventually 'sip Ontario' partnered up with Savour Ontario (a program developed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) to bring the finest Ontario VQA wine and local food together. The event is a way to bring together a warm community of Ontario winemakers to celebrate their achievements with an evening of entertainment, delicious food, and, of course, award-winning Ontario VQA wine.

This year's event took place at Queen's Landing and was hosted by Kevin Brauch of the Food Network's The Thirsty Traveler and Iron Chef America. Kevin used his wit and charm to keep the crowd enthused throughout the awards, adding a whole other layer to the event. He even did an exciting demonstration of a triple-blindfolded champagne bottle cork removal with a knife, commonly known as sabering! Prior to the awards, there was a Sparkling Wine Reception where guests could mingle while tasting a fine selection of Ontario Cheeses sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada. The elaborate four course meal was prepared by Queen's Landing executive chef James Olberg, with each course highlighting four of the award-winning wines.

The menu was as follows:

• Ontario Woolwich goats cheese with sous Vide pears and warm brioche, paired with Thirty Bench 2007 Riesling
• Smoked Ontario candied artic char with leek soubise and slow cooked Niagara Baby Leeks with Niagara prosciutto, paired with Creekside Estate 2007 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
• Niagara honey roasted chicken with a walnut rosemary crust, Krinkle Cress and Hot House tomatoes with a Niagara Pinot Noir and honey glaze, paired with Tawse 2007 Cherry Avenue Vineyard Estate Bottled Pinot Noir
• Roasted AAA corn fed Ontario beef tenderloin with potato and braised Ontario beef short rib PavĂ©, vegetable pot-au-feu infused with roasted garlic Cabernet Franc wine reduction, paired with Colio Estate 2005 Reserve Cabernet Franc

I had such a spectacular night, I didn't want it to end! The good news is...the excitement continues on June 16th with sip & Savour Ontario, an event open to consumers. I have attended this event several times over the past few years and it has been a pleasure attending each year! The event is a continuation of the Ontario Wine Awards where award-winning VQA wines from more than 25 Ontario wineries are paired with elegant and delectable offerings of regional cuisine prepared by local Savour Ontario chefs. There are also live culinary demonstrations (my personal favourite) throughout the evening made to inspire people to buy local produce. The event takes place on Tuesday June 16th in the Distillery Historic District from 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm - for more information click here>>

I hope to see you there!

Danielle is a guest contributing writer and you can read her bio here>>

Click here to read more about sip & Savour Ontario>>
Click here to go to read more about the Ontario Wine Awards>>
Click here to learn about Ontario Wine Week>>
Click here to learn more about sip & Savour Ontario on June 16th>>