Nearly 300 amateur and professional wine lovers put their palates to the test April 14 at the 10th annual Wine Tasting Challenge held at the prestigious Liberty Grand in Toronto.
The event is a blind tasting that aims to bring together the world’s best wine enthusiasts to compete at the highest level. It offers more than $100,000 in prizes in the professional, amateur, VQA and spirit categories. Participants can win cash, travel packages and VQA and international wine and spirit baskets.
Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) is an associate partner of the event, and leads the organization of the challenge which aims to highlight Canada’s best and brightest in wine and spirit knowledge.
“Over the last 10 years, the challenge has evolved into the world’s largest wine tasting competition,” said Barb Tatarnic, the challenge’s director and auditor and CCOVI’s manager of continuing education and outreach. “CCOVI is extremely proud to be the challenge’s presenting and auditing partner.”
After the competition, a ceremony recognized the top finishers from the previous challenge, including 2012 grand award winner Nelson Abreu.
“The Wine Tasting Challenge is the only event that manages to attract so many people from our community together to compete and raise our game in a friendly, sportive environment,” Abreu said.
The challenge also presented two awards at this year’s ceremony. The distinguished sponsor award was presented to Huff Estate Winery in gratitude of its longstanding support of the challenge.
The Donald Ziraldo Award - acknowledging innovation, development and inspiration in the food and wine industry - was presented by Ziraldo to brothers Paul, Matthew and Daniel Speck of Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.
“The Speck boys and their commitment to sustainability exemplify the hard work that creates success in our industry,” Ziraldo said.
The complete list of award winners can be found on the challenge’s website.
Results from this year’s competition will be available May 15.