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Local wineries win big – Moon Curser and Nk’Mip Cellars win prestigious wine awards
Two Osoyoos-based wineries – one large and one very small – joined a host of other wineries from across the South Okanagan that captured major awards and recognition as the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards were announced last week.
Decanter Magazine is considered the pre-eminent wine publication in the world and its annual awards are considered among the most prestigious.
Nk’Mip Cellars, which is owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band and has been in operation for more than a decade, captured 11 awards at this year’s competition, including one regional trophy, two bronze medals and eight “commended” ribbons.
Moon Curser Winery, a small operation on the town’s east bench that is owned and operated by Chris and Beata Tolley since 2004, was honoured with one bronze medal and two commended ribbons.
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery of Westbank won top honours winning the World’s Best Pinot Noir in the under 15 pounds category.
Randy Picton, the head winemaker at Nk’ Mip Cellars, said being recognized by one of the world’s most prestigious magazines and awards competitions is a true honour.
“These Decanter awards are considered arguably the most prestigious in the world and getting this kind of recognition is a testament to all of the hard work our people are doing in the vineyards and here at the winery,” he said.
Having 11 of the 13 entries submitted for this year’s competition claim awards is his biggest source of pride, said Picton.
“This strong showing shows that if you open a bottle of Nk’Mip Cellars wine that you’re getting a very good bottle of wine no matter what variety you may prefer,
he said. “We take great pride in producing quality in all of our varietals and getting recognition like this confirms that we’re succeeding in our mission to produce wines that can truly be called world-class.”
To see so many South Okanagan wineries gain recognition on the world stage through these awards only confirms that this region continues its ascendency to the top of the world stage, said Picton.
“We’ve been trying to promote this region as producing wines that can compete on the world stage for many years now, but it was often used for marketing purposes,” he said. “The more awards like this we continue to win, the more we can confirm that this isn’t just marketing, but a reality.
“We are continuing to perform well on the world stage and this can only bode well for the future of the wine industry in this region.”
Beata Tolley said this is the second-consecutive year Moon Curser Winery has done well in the Decanter World Wine Awards and she couldn’t be prouder.
“We entered for the first time last year and actually did even better winning a regional trophy for Best Canadian Red Wine over 15 pounds (English currency) and winning three bronze medals,” she said. “We are very proud to have followed that up with a bronze medal and two honourable mentions this year.”
Her husband Chris and vineyard manager Brian Dorosz deserve most of the credit for a tiny winery like Moon Curser gaining international recognition, she said.
“I would like to think this kind of success is a direct result of all of the work we have put in over the past 10 years paying off,” she said. “We’re a small winery and we’ve tried to carve a niche by growing different varieties not traditionally grown in the Okanagan Valley and it has obviously worked for us.”
Moon Curser’s Dead of the Night 2010 captured the bronze medal, while its Border Vines 2010 and Afraid of the Dark 2011 gained honourable mention.
“Our Afraid of the Dark wine blends three white varieties of grapes from the Rhone region in France and very few wineries in this region grow them,” she said. “It’s exciting to be able produce different varieties that have gained popularity with wine lovers in this area.”
Tolley agrees the Decanter World Wine Awards are among the most prestigious anywhere and having so many South Okanagan wineries gain recognition is exciting to be a part of.
“The reality is this region is producing some of the best wine in the world,” she said. “In the short period of time we’ve been involved … and 10 years is a short time in the wine industry, the quality of wine being produced across the valley is staggering and we’re very proud to be a part of it.
“So many of the wines being produced here are world class. It’s fantastic. I’m 100 per cent confident that in a blind taste test that many of the wines coming from this region can stack up against the very best wines being made anywhere in the world.”
Other regional wineries that placed well in the competition include Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, located between Oliver and Osoyoos, which captured 10 awards, including two silver medals, six bronze medals and two honourable mentions.
Jackson Triggs Winery from Oliver captured six awards, including one gold medal, two silvers, two bronze and one honourable mention.
Tinhorn Creek Winery captured two honourable mentions.
You can view the list of all the winners by visiting www.decanter.com/dwwa/2013/