Niagara College’s Teaching Winery has turned its ‘liquid gold’ into 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 NC Teaching Winery’s Dean’s List Savant Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2019.
Exclusive to nations of the new world – 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 are made by representatives from each participating country, and the selected wines are transported to Sydney, Australia for blind judging.
“It was truly an honour to be invited to participate in the 2022 Global Fine Wine Challenge,” said Steve Gill, General Manager of NC’s Learning Enterprises. “To learn that our wine has been listed as a gold medal winner among the finest wines in the new world is a testament to how Canada’s first and only commercial Teaching Winery continues to raise the bar for wine education.”
Dean of NC’s Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies division Craig Youdale applauded the achievement.
“The practical elements of our programs are the hallmark of what we are all about here at Niagara College,” said Youdale. “There is a strong tradition of Icewine production in Niagara and at our Teaching Winery, and to see their hard work being recognized with a gold medal is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our staff and students, and we could not be prouder.”
Dean’s List Savant Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2019 comes from the Teaching Winery’s 2019 Icewine harvest, picked by NC 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 alumna of the College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program (2014). “It is an honour to be recognized as a top contender on the world stage.”
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.
While the Teaching Winery has won several national awards for a variety of Icewines over the years, Robertson pointed out that this win was significant; it marked the Teaching Winery’s first invitation to enter the Global Fine Wine Challenge where it had an opportunity to compete against dessert wines “from a large swath of the wine-producing globe.”
“To stand out to a panel of Masters of Wine and other prominent wine judges and critics in that context is fairly remarkable,” said Robertson, who is an alumnus of NC’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program (2011) and a Nuffield Canada scholar. “It speaks to the quality we strive for, not just in winemaking but in education at the only Teaching Winery in the country, and it demonstrates to the students who picked and processed the fruit with us that they are all capable of forging a path to greatness in the global wine industry in their own right.”
The NC Teaching Winery’s gold was one of 12 awards listed in the Dessert Wines category at this year’s Global Fine Wine Challenge (view the 2022 results here). For information about the Global Fine Wine challenge visitglobalfine.wine.
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.
Products from NC’s Teaching Winery are available for purchase at the College’s Wine Visitor + Education Centre(Daniel J. Patterson Campus: 135 Taylor Rd, Niagara-on-the-Lake) or online at ncteachingwinery.ca while supplies last. Proceeds from sales support student learning.
Niagara College’s Teaching Winery was the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada and is the only facility of its kind in the country today. It is located at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, along with the NC Teaching Brewery and – the latest addition in September 2018 – the NC Teaching Distillery which were also the first of their kind in the country.
Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture, and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.