Industry Greats Celebrated during 2019 Canadian Wine Industry Awards

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON – July 17, 2019 – The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Canadian Wine Industry Awards alongside headline sponsor, MNP. These prestigious awards recognize individuals, organizations and businesses that have gone above and beyond to support and enhance the wine industry in Canada, celebrating the success, leadership and outstanding commitment in Canada’s grape wine industry.

The winner of the Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction – regarded as the highest form of peer recognition in the Canadian wine industry – is Dr. Joseph Andrew Peller and Family. Dr. Peller dedicated 30 years of his adult life to developing Canada’s first truly national wine brand, helping develop the wine growing regions in British Columbia, Central and Atlantic Canada. CEO of Andrés Wines (now Andrew Peller Limited) from 1965 until 1995, he displayed exceptional leadership and was an inspiration to his employees, whom he always endeavoured to treat like family. Andrew Peller Limited grew and prospered under Dr. Peller’s dedication and leadership.

“For almost 60 years, Dr. Peller and the Peller family have exemplified a strong commitment and leadership towards the pursuit of Canadian wine excellence,” said Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO of the Canadian Vintners Association. “This award is a testament to the Peller families’ sense of community, vision and dedication to growing the Canadian wine industry into a region whose exceptional quality wines can stand alongside the best in the world.”

The Wine Industry Champion Award, presented to an individual who has provided exemplary support to the Canadian wine industry through media, research, policy or advocacy, was awarded to Laurie Macdonald, Executive Director of VQA Ontario. Laurie has been with VQA Ontario since its inception in 2000 and seen the Ontario wine industry establish an international presence and more than triple in size. VQA Ontario administers the Vintners Quality Alliance Act and associated regulations that establish an appellation of origin and quality assurance system for Ontario VQA wines. VQA certification and branding provides consumers with label integrity and the industry with a foundation to build consumer confidence in local wines.

“The CVA is thrilled to honour Laurie’s exceptional and ongoing contribution towards building and administering a world class wine appellation system,” stated Paszkowski. “Through hard work and leadership, Laurie’s dedication to Ontario’s appellations and wines of origin has provided consumers the reassurance of standards, quality and integrity in every bottle of Ontario VQA wine.”

The Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award was created in 2018 to celebrate great Canadian winemakers, in honour of the legacy of the late Karl Kaiser, a Canadian wine industry pioneer and viticultural visionary. The recipient of this year’s award was Craig McDonald, winemaker at Wayne Gretzky Estates, Ontario.

“With a keen sense of marrying the art of winemaking with the business of wine, award winning Craig McDonald is a deserving recipient of CVA’s second annual Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award, said Dan Paszkowski. From Wayne Gretzky in Ontario to Sandhill in British Columbia, Craig oversees all wineries in the Peller family, and his talents are demonstrated through the wines many Canadians have come to love and enjoy,” remarked Paszkowski.

The awards were presented on July 17, 2019, following the CVA’s 52st Annual Meeting, which brought together winery owners from across Canada to hear from a panel of speakers, presenting on retail opportunities and market trends in the industry.