Grower Awards

2016 National Wine Awards

Tawse Winery has been named Canadian Winery of the Year at the 2016 National Wine Awards of Canada.  This is the fourth time in the last seven years that Tawse Winery has received the honour.

"Our success would not be possible without the passion and hard work of our dedicated team. Our commitment to producing the highest quality and most expressive wines is paramount to every decision we make. We truly believe that our terroir and traditional approach to farming allows us to produce exceptional fruit, vintage after vintage. Respect for the land and maintaining the integrity of our soils has always been one of the pillars of our brand. " - Moray Tawse

Over 1,500 wines were entered from 230 wineries in the 2016 National Wine Awards of Canada.  Congratulations to all of the winners which can be found here


2016 Lieutenant Governor's Award Winners


The 2016 Lieutenant Governor's Wine Awards for Excellence in Ontario Wines recognized 12 wines for overall excellence, regardless of vintage or varietal from an intake of 473 wines from 71 Ontario wineries.
Click here to view the full list of award winners

2016 Ontario Wine Awards

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 - Niagara-on-the-Lake – The 22nd year of the Ontario Wine Awards showed just how dynamic the contemporary Ontario wine industry is across the province – from the large companies to the boutique and garagiste producers. This year the awards ceremony was held at Niagara College and their Benchmark Restaurant, hosted by the celebrity chef and TV personality, Michael Bonacini.

The Ontario Wine Awards recognize VQA varietal quality in 25 different categories such as Dry Riesling and Cabernet Franc, and acknowledge winners in Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal levels. There are also distinctive awards honouring the Winemaker of the Year, White Wine of the Year, Red Wine of the Year, Wine Journalism Award, and Best Label Design. Please click here to view the full list of award winners.


Grape Growers of Ontario Oaked Chardonnay Award

presented by GGO Board Chair Matthias Oppenlaender (centre) to Gerry and Lia Spinosa for their Exultet Estates 2013 Chardonnay "The Blessed"





2015 Distinguished Leader of Brock University's Goodman School of Business

 April 2016

 Rossana Magnotta, founder and CEO of Magnotta Winery received the Distinguished Leader Award in recognition of her leadership abilities, entrepreneurship and contributions to the community.  Magnotta Winery is the third largest winery in Ontario producing over 180 wines.  Rossana is also founder of The G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases, a non-profit organization that is helping establigh the nation's first research facility for Lyme Disease.

2016 Cuvée Award Winners

 March 7, 2016

The 28th Annual Cuvée Grand Tasting event, organized by CCOVI (Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute) was held Friday, March 4, 2016 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, ON.

Congratulations to all the Cuvée award winery winners, and the individuals below who were recognized for their contributions to growing and promoting the province's grape andwine industry:

Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence - Wes and Howard Lowrey, St. Davids for Best Red Vinifera for their Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard (pictured left with Matthias Oppenlaender and Julia Harnal, National Marketing Manager, BASF Canada Inc. 

Promoter at Large - Norm Hardie, Prince Edward County
Lifetime Achievement Award - Peter Gamble
Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Achievement - Lloyd Schmidt
Hospitality Award - Greg Elmhirst
Education - Peter Blakeman
LCBO Product Consultant Award - Nina Hofer, Niagara


Regional Premier's Awards  for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence 2015

November 2015
Vineland Estates Winery Inc
MPP Chris Ballard and Brian Schmidt

Awarded for their grape optical sorter which gently de-stems the fruit and removes bugs and unwanted plant material.  Puffs of air then sort the grapes by colour, size and shape.  Vineland Estates Winery Inc. has been honoured with one of three Leaders in Innovation Awards for their grape optical sorter.



 Black Prince Winery
MPP Arthur Potts, MPP Lou Rinaldi, Pete Bradford and Geoff Webb

Geoff Webb, Black Prince Winery teamed up with
Canadian Vinegar Cellars' Pete Bradford to use reverse osmosis to speed up vinegar production, oxidizing and dealcoholizing wine faster than conventional methods.  The result - beautifully balanced vinegars.

Grape Growers of Ontario

MPP Chris Ballard, Debbie Zimmerman and Mary Jane Combe

A new sustainability certification program launched by the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Wine Council of Ontario provides grape growers and wineries with an opportunity to earn certification for their sustainable practices. The online self assessment tool makes it easy to benchmark operations and identify areas for improvement. more information




November 2015
Best in Show Niagara College Teaching Winery -2012 Dean's List Merlot
Best in Show White Frisky and Gamble -2012 Smoke and Gamble Chardonnay
Best in Show Red  Niagara College Teaching Winery -2012 Dean's List Merlot
Best in Show Rosé Megalomaniac/John Howard Cellars of Distinction -2014 Pink Slip Rosé
Best in Show Dessert Sue Ann Staff Winery - 2012 Howards Vidal

 2015 Royal Wine Competition Results



 Presented September 18, 2015



Debbie Zimmerman, CEO Grape Growers of Ontario with St Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik and the Saunders family winner of the Environmental Leadership Award.


2015 RBC Awards were presented at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival:
Licencee of the Year: Niagara College Benchmark Restaurant
Business Citizen of the Year: Joe Pillitteri, Lakeview Vineyard Equipment
Winery with Heart: 13th Street Winery
Environmental Leadership Award: Saunders Family Farm




Back: Martin Werner, Ravine Vineyard; Ben Minaker, Ravine Vineyard; Lydia Tomek, Hernder Estate Wines; Ed Madronich, Flat Rock Cellars; Rob Power, Creekside Estate Winery; Ed Madronich Sr., Flat Rock Cellars
Front: Marco Piccoli, Jackson-Triggs; Katie Dickieson, Peller Estates Winery; Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; David Stasiuk, Rockway Vineyards; Emma Garner, Thirty Bench Wine Makers
Photo from Lieutenant Governor's Office 


2014 Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence


The award is sponsored by BASF and presented at the Cuvée Grand Tasting held in February, where we showcase the best Ontario VQA wines. It is in that same spirit we take the opportunity to recognize a grower who promotes excellence in their vineyard practices.

2014- Don Forrer, Forrer Farms Inc., Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
2013- Ron Koop, Koop Farms Ltd., St. Catharines, ON
2012- David Beyers, Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, St. Davids, ON
2011- Duarte Oliveira, Oliveira Vineyard, Beamsville, ON
2010- Kevin Donohue, Colio Estate Wines, Harrow, ON
2009- Albrecht Seeger, Seeger Farms Ltd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
2008- Martin Schuele, Schuele Vineyards Inc., Beamsville, ON
                                                                                                                          Don Forrer, Forrer Farms, 2014 Cuvee of Excellence




The Larry Paterson Award is presented at the Ontario Wine Awards to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the Ontario wine industry in appreciation of their commitment and passion for the VQA wines of Ontario.

2012- Rob Power, Creekside Winery
2011- Viticulturalist and winemaker Deborah Paskus, Closson Chase, Prince Edward County, received the inaugural Larry Paterson Award, on Friday night, June 10, at the 2011 annual Ontario Wine Awards.



Yannick Wertsch has achieved a Top 30 Under 30 award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute.  This award is an annual recognition program that celebrates the hospitality and foodservice industry’s top 30 young professionals in all sectors. Yannick is co-owner and winemaker at Between the Lines Winery and Wertsch family vineyards in Niagara.




Wes and Briar Wiens were selected as Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2011. The Wiens of Gemmrich W. Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake received this top provincial honour at an awards ceremony on Friday March 11, 2011 in Ajax, Ontario.  The Wiens were chosen from a group of farmers from across Ontario that exemplify and demonstrate innovation and progress in their agricultural careers.




Congratulations to Peller Estates on receiving a Gold medal for their 2007 Andrew Peller Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2010 International Wine and Spirit Competition in the UK —a Canadian first!




Allowing the vine to grow as naturally as possible is the way Hughes Vineyards produces the grapes that are in demand by some of the best wineries in Ontario. Over the last 10 years, Hughes Vineyards has embraced the principles of biodiversity by looking for new ways to improve natural methods of controlling vigour, pests, and vine balance while reducing the need for artificial methods. Using native Niagara flowering plants to attract natural predatory insects in large enough populations, they are able to eliminate the need for insecticides and miticides. These beneficial plants also establish a cover crop that helps to control grape vine vigour. This innovative approach has allowed Hughes Vineyards to reduce operating costs by almost 10 per cent per acre, a significant achievement




Sweet & Sticky Inc. Ice Syrup - His idea has resulted in a new product - a rich-flavoured, non-alcoholic syrup that has many potential food applications. The syrup is made through an evaporation process that brings the grape juice to a stable syrup consistency, without boiling or caramelizing.