The 2022 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada were recently announced, with Kelowna area wineries securing three of the top five spots in the country, along with the top honour of Winery of the Year, which was awarded to CedarCreek Estate Winery, and Best Performing Small Winery, which was awarded to SpearHead Winery, who ranked third overall. Also on the list of Top 25 Wineries in Canada was Mission Hill Family Estate, which secured the number four spot, and Quails' Gate Estate Winery, which came in at number 11.
Winery of the Year
This is CedarCreek's third win for WineAlign's Winery of the Year—the winery previously held the title in 2001 and 2005. However, it is the first win for Winemaker, Taylor Whelan, who built off the work started by his predecessors Tom Dibello, who was at the helm for the two previous wins, and Darryl Brooker. It is also the first win since the winery began its transition to organic farming more than five years ago.
In WineAlign's Winery of the Year announcement, CedarCreek Owner, Anthony von Mandl, was quoted as saying:
“It is a testament to the legacy we continue to build at CedarCreek, shattering the world’s perception of this still young and emerging wine region by crafting wines of exceptional quality in the Okanagan that can rival the best in the world. A thrilling endeavour from a winemaking perspective and a compelling experience for visitors that travel from around the globe to experience the Okanagan Valley for themselves.”
The winery, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, is also featured as one of Kelowna's viticulture success stories as part of the award-winning OKGo, a collaborative campaign between the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Accelerate Okanagan, and Tourism Kelowna designed to generate economic and tourism growth.
Best Performing Small Winery
As noted on the WineAlign website, the Best Performing Small Winery award "goes to the winery with a production of 10,000 cases or less that chalked up the highest aggregate score for its five top-scoring wines." With 16 medals overall, including a Platinum Medal for its Spearhead Coyote Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019, as well as seven Gold, three Silver, and five Bronze, SpearHead Winery easily secured its well-earned top spot.
“We have a hard-working team, led by winemaker Grant Stanley, that contributes every day to the pursuit of SpearHead’s goal to be recognized as an important part of Canada’s emerging wine industry," said Bill Knutson, one of Spearhead's majority owners, in WineAlign's announcement for the award. "We are very proud to be associated with the previous winners of this award, and we are now more determined than ever to secure a reputation for producing premium wines that deserve a place on the world stage.”
Numerous other wineries from Kelowna and the Central Okanagan also took home medals in the competition—a complete list of winners in each category can be found here.
Please join us in congratulating all the award winners from our region who continue to craft some of the world's most delicious and decorated wines!
About the National Wine Awards of Canada
The National Wine Awards of Canada were founded by David Lawrason and Anthony Gismondi. During the annual competition, judges from around the country complete blind-tastings of wines in numerous categories, ultimately deciding the winners in each category, which leads to the Top 25 Wineries in Canada list, as well as Winery of the Year and Best Performing Small Winery. More than 1,800 entries from 250 Canadian wineries (137 of which were from BC) were submitted in 2022 and tasted by the competition's 24 judges. WineAlign notes that the awards are "the largest and most respected Canadian wine competition."