So What Does it Mean to be “Winery of the Year” Anyway?

This is a pet peeve of mine, so stay tuned…but first the wine of the night.

Chateau de Pesquie makes Cotes du Ventoux in the southern Rhone better than anybody, year in year out, at a great price. So when a so-called “great vintage” comes along, you would expect great things…and we definitely have them with the 2007 vintage!

Still less than $18, it is a gorgeously ripe red wine, full of juicy, peppery blackberry fruit, not jammy at all, a bit herbal (I would guess mostly Syrah), and no hard edges. Just a great wine…I defy anyone who likes wine not to love this one!

Now, on to my pet peeve…I read a piece in the paper this morning  about a large Canadian winery with significant holdings in BC tha that was just named “Winery of the Year.” And, as is the case every year, I wondered what that means.

Big wineries, by definition, make a lot of wine — sometimes a lot of different wines, but always a lot of volume. They are for sale everywhere, all across the country, and because of the size usually have wines in all price and quality categories.

But they are also the ones that end up winning these kind of awards as well.  So is that for quality, quantity or a combination of both?

Now I know everyone has their own tastes…I am the biggest “preacher” of style in wine, and the fact that people all have their own favourites.

But I have to admit that the wineries I think are the best never wine these awards, and that bugs me. Their wines sometimes win individual awards, but they never win the overall award.

And so I vent, every year, to anyone who will listen to me.

Ironically, though, I would bet that the same wineries that I love could probably care less.  They tend to be smaller, make fewer wines, in less quantities and — most important — sell out almost every year. To folks like me, who love them.

So what’s the big deal? I guess, for me, it is that the average wine drinker will never know just how good BC wine can be if they just go with the big guys.  Nothing against them, as their profile and size has done great things for the industry here.

But if more people could know and taste some of these others…oh well.  At least that means there is always enough for me!



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