Jeff and Niva Martin, owners of La Frenz Winery, in their barrel room. Submitted photo

South Okanagan winning wines

Local wineries come out on top in national awards

South Okanagan wineries made a strong showing at the Wine Align’s 2017 National Wine Awards.

Road 13 Vineyards, Oliver, brought home a platinum win amongst the thirteen medals awarded and the titles of No. 1 winery in B.C. and Top 10 Wineries in Canada. Road 13 Vineyards is the only winery in Canada to win platinum — this year for their 2014 Similkameen Collective GSM, a red blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre — while also securing a spot in the national top ten for five consecutive years.

“This wouldn’t be possible without all the efforts of our exceptional composition of winemakers, the cellar team, vineyard staff and the many people who have made this dream possible since we began in 2003. With a special tribute to our terroir – the “dirt” that defines and drives the incredible wines we are able to create,” said Joe Luckhurst, general manager.

There were 1,700 entries from 242 wineries came from eight provinces. B.C. had the highest representation with 132 wineries entered, Ontario came second with 77, followed by wineries from Nova Scotia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Prince Edward Island.

South Okanagan wineries took most of the spots on the Top 10 in B.C. list: Burrowing Owl Estate Winery at No. 4, La Frenz Estate Winery at No. 5, Meyer Family Vineyards at No. 6, Bench 1775 Winery at No. 7, Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards at No. 9 and Lake Breeze Vineyards at No. 10.

La Frenz was also named the Best Performing Small Winery of the Year, the second time in as many years that this award has gone to a winery on the Naramata Bench.

The Naramata winery was awarded 12 medals including one of the prestigious 20 platinum medals for their 2015 Ensemble Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend; a gold medal for the 2016 Semillon; and seven silver medals and four bronze medals for wines across all styles.

Earlier this Spring La Frenz Winery also won four gold medals, nine silver and four bronze at the Dan Berger International Awards Competition, one of California’s oldest and most respected wine competitions. These medals resulted in La Frenz being awarded the Small Winery of the Year for 2017 in that competition.

“I am extremely pleased to win two Small Winery of the Year awards from the only two competitions I entered this year. These awards represent our four and fifth Small Winery of the Year Awards in the past four years, which underscores our consistency from year to year,” said Jeff Martin, owner of La Frenz Winery.

“We have a world class wine industry here, it is not even a serious question today, our best producers are clearly making wines worthy of sitting alongside wines from anywhere in the world. The major wins by La Frenz Winery and other BC wineries at international competitions prove this point,” said Martin.