Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards 2012

Wine’s greatest strength is its variety, and our diverse list of 100-plus winners will take you on unexpected journeys, and show that you can find value anywhere on the price spectrum. Thirteen countries show in the final results, which are dominated by France, Italy, and B.C. Five of the category winners were French, proving that this country, where wine is such a vital part of the psyche, is clearly on form. Our Best of Show winner also confirms that refreshment, nuance, and elegance matter in wine again. Almost unanimously, we chose the complex, minerally Dominique Piron Brouilly to send the message that less can be more and that old is new and exciting again.

Then there is B.C.: dozens of winning wines prove once more that the best of our local heroes can stand shoulder to shoulder with the world. From Riesling to Zweigelt, 50-plus winners proclaim that we are maturing as a wine region. Other trends I observed? More ripe and delicious Pinots amidst the winners show that the worldwide human ambition lavished on this grape has been worth the effort. Syrah features in 15 red wines for you to sample, and unsung grapes like Picpoul, Arneis, and Aglianico have found a tuneful voice. This year sake bravely went head to head with wine because its savoury complexity and vinous qualities can be deployed just like wine.

Since the beginning in 2005 I have watched this competition come of age. Just as a fine wine develops in the bottle, our awards have gained focus, harmony, and refinement over the years. My ambition and the competition’s goal is to provide you with a year’s worth of wines that arouse the senses, give great pleasure, and provide true value. Simply close your eyes and point as you sip your way through 109 winners over the next year.

The Judging Process

Judges were divided into panels, each with a facilitator. Flights of wine were organized by style and price and tasted blind on a like-with-like basis. Winners were chosen by consensus; judges collectively decided which wines offered the best quality and value. The four panels united for a playoff of all 10 category winners to determine our Best of Show: Dominique Piron Brouilly Domaine Combiaty 2009

The Winners

 Best Wine of 2012

Best of Show

Best Sparkling Wines of 2012 

Best Sparkling Wines

Best White Wines of 2012 

Best White Wines

Best Rosé Wines of 2012 

Best Rosé Wines

Best Red Wines of 2012 

Best Red Wines

Best Fortified Wines of 2012 

Best Fortified Wines

Best Dessert Wines of 2012

Best Dessert Wines

Best Bargain Wines of 2012

Best Bargain Wines

The Judges

DJ Kearney
Chief judge
Julian Scholefield Competition manager

Judge Facilitators

Michelle Bouffard Co-owner, House Wine
Mark Davidson Market development manager, Wine Australia USA
Park Heffelfinger Co-owner, Memphis Blues Barbeque House
Rhys Pender, MW Owner, WinePlus+


Geoff Boyd Director of bar and concept development, JOEY Restaurant Group
Christina Burridge Drink editor, Vancouver magazine
Sid Cross Wine and food educator
Owen Knowlton Wine director and manager, West restaurant
Kurtis Kolt Professional wine enthusiast
Judith Lane Wine, food, and travel journalist
Tim Pawsey Journalist, the Courier, North Shore News, and
Barbarian Wine Consulting, BCLDB
Iain Philip Senior wine instructor, Art Institute of Vancouver
Barbara Philip
MW Barbarian Wine Consulting, BCLDB
Mark Shipway AIWS wine instructor and department head
Dave Smith Buyer, Everything Wine
Mark Taylor Owner, Cru restaurant
Terry Threlfall Sommelier, Hawksworth restaurant

Back Room Staff

Dee Anand, Alana Dickson, Steve Dimond, Patricia Hake, Karen Kho, Roger Maniwa, Tish Thibeault, Dustin Wellwood, Jason Yamazaki


Thank You

Special thanks to the Vancouver Club for hosting our three-day competition