B.C. winery nets trophy for world’s top icewine
September 5, 2008 By The Canadian Press
September 5, 2008, Kelowna, B.C. – An icewine produced in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley has been named the best in the world at the International Wine Challenge in London.
Mission Hill Winery president Daniel Zepponi credited “a perfect storm” of summer in 2006 for the top prize.
“We had a really smooth, warm summer,” Zepponi said.
“And then they had an Arctic chill that came down to –15 degrees, and that’s unheard of here in the Okanagan. So you’ve got perfectly ripened fruit with no dehydration and it freezes ripe right on the vine.”
Zepponi said the winery has won plenty of regional and national awards.
“But you have to understand we won the gold medal (for the icewine) for Canada, and it goes up against all the top icewines in the world,” he said.
“This kind of came out of left field for us. We concentrate on table wines, we never set out to make the world’s best icewine.”
This year was only the third time in the past eight years that the trophy has been handed out, Zepponi said.
“If the judges don’t feel any of the wines are up to standard, they won’t hand out a trophy.”
Zepponi said Mission Hill won its first world’s best prize in 1994 for a Chardonnay the judges tasted twice because they couldn’t believe the wine had come from the Okanagan.
“The Okanagan is a small-producing region and when you get international attention it’s good for everybody.”
The International Wine Challenge receives more than 9,000 entries from 40 countries.
The wines are tasted blind by a team of more than 400 judges.
The winery sells its award-winning icewine for $60 a bottle.
Canada has one of the world’s highest standards for icewine.
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