Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards 2015

What does it take to make really good wine? More than simply good land, decent farming, and sound technique. Memorable wines, those that rise to the top, take passion, dedication, hard work, discipline, selflessness-in short, heart and soul. The result of this special effort? Wines with effortless balance, structure, complexity, and length. Wines that are arrestingly delicious and pleasurable and authentic. Wines that tell a liquid story.

And what does it take to pull off a really great wine competition? The same passion, dedication, hard work, discipline, and selflessness from everyone involved: judges, volunteers, and logistics crew. The calibre of judges is critically important (and we truly have the best), but so is the right setting, the right leadership, a well-articulated vision, and unflagging support from the wine industry.

For 11 years now, 17 judges have gathered each autumn to evaluate about 750 bottles (the ideal number for a three-day event), each deeply feeling the responsibility to choose top wines for you to enjoy all year long. Before firing the starter’s pistol, I stand on a soapbox and remind these experts of the singular features of this unique competition and of our overriding goal of curating a list of winners that offer quality, diversity, and value. I also counsel them to relax and taste: good wines have a way of announcing themselves.

Those tried-and-true metrics-quality, diversity, value-have consistently delivered a deserving list of 100-plus wines that span 10 style categories. As the judges sip, spit, think, and discuss (unshackled from any points scoring system), they select candidates that fit that triple bill, along with pure deliciousness. They never, ever forget that wine is about the senses and should stimulate as well as slake thirst.

So what fruit did the 11th annual awards bear? As always, there is a healthy crop of excellent B.C. wines, with Italy and France virtually tied for winners. Spain, Australia, and California also featured prominently with 16 stunning chardonnays, 15 pinots, seven rieslings, three gamays, two sakes, and one awesome pinotage. In short, a round-the-world trip of vinous delights to keep you stimulated and satisfied until we do it all again next year. Let’s raise our glasses to quality, diversity, consistency, and, best of all, value.

Photographs by John Sinal





Best of Show

Best Sparkling Wines of 2015 

Best Sparkling Wines

Best Light White Wines of 2015 

Best Light White Wines

Best White Wines 2015 

Best Medium White Wines

Best White Wines of 2015 

Best Rich White Wines

Best Rose Wines of 2015 

Best Rosé Wines

Best Light Red Wines of 2015

Best Light Red Wines

 Best Medium Red Wines of 2015 

 Best Medium Red Wines 

 Best Rich Red Wines 2015

Best Rich Red

Best Dessert Wines of 2015 

Best Dessert Wines

Best Fortified Wines of 2015 

Best Fortified Wines













The Judges

DJ Kearney Chief judge
Alana Dickson Competition manager



Judge Facilitators

Michelle Bouffard, Co-owner, House Wine; president, Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, B.C. chapter

Rhys Pender, MW Owner, WinePlus+

Iain Philip, Barbariain Wine Consulting: senior wine instructor, Art Institute of Vancouver

Terry Threlfall, Sommelier and wine consultant



Mike Bernardo, Wine director, Vij’s Restaurants; Sommelier of the Year, 2014

Geoff Boyd, Wine director, Joey Restaurant Group

Christina Burridge, Drinks editor, CityGuide and Eating & Drinking Guide

Sid Cross, Wine and food educator

Anthony Gismondi,, Wine Align principal critic

Kurtis Kolt, Wine consultant and journalist, the Georgia Straight

Sebastien Le Goff, Service director and sommelier, Cactus Club Café restaurants

Bryant Mao, Wine director, Hawksworth restaurant

Neal McLennan, Food and travel editor, Western Living magazine

Tim Pawsey, Journalist, the Courier, North Shore News, and

Barbara Philip, MW Barbariain Wine Consulting: buyer, BCLDB

Mark Taylor Owner, Siena Trattoria and Biercraft Wesbrook Village

Emily Walker, Wine director, Yew Seafood + Bar and Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

Back Room Staff 

Van Doren Chan, Beck Chung, Amber Dickson, Kieran Fanning, Ekaterina Gopienko, Lisa Haley, Alex Kearney, Kristi Linneboe, Roger Maniwa, Aldea Pallard, Jayton Paul, Peter van de Reep, Di Wu, and Jason Yamasaki 


Thank You

Special thanks to the Stanley Park Pavilion for hosting our three-day competition