Thirty Bench Wine Makers wins inaugural Best Performing Small Winery

A Niagara benchmark sets the standard for ‘Small is Beautiful’Aug 5, 2015

by Anthony Gismondi

Best Small WineryNew to The Nationals in 2015 is The Best Performing Small Winery in Canada. After fifteen years of duking it out with the big boys many small wineries felt they didn’t have the resources to take on the larger producers year in and year out and thought they should be recognised separately for their work. Although we personally never believed this to be an issue in the tasting room, there is a sense of fairness in acknowledging the achievement of a growing cadre of small producers across the country producing 10,000 cases or less. We are excited to announce the inaugural award for the Best Performing Small Winery in Canada goes to Thirty Bench Wine Makers.

Winemaker Emma Garner wooed the judges, flight after flight, with some very impressive rieslings including a platinum award winning Thirty Bench 2013 Riesling Small Lot Triangle Vineyard Riesling. Quebec City Judge Remy Charest said “I’ve always loved the Thirty Bench rieslings, especially Triangle, which has a great mix of energy, depth and complexity, and it was great to find out that I liked them just as much when tasting blind. Emma Garner does truly terrific work there, in reds too.” Two golds and a raft of silver medals sealed the deal and we couldn’t be happier for Emma. Thirty Bench is focused on estate wines grown only on the Beamsville Bench within the Niagara Peninsula appellation and as you might expect production is limited.

[Top Small Performing Wineries]

Emma Garner

Emma Garner, Chief Winemaker, Thirty Bench Wine Makers

A Brock University graduate, Emma has spent time in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and British Columbia before returning to the Niagara region to work at Trius Winery through 2005. She then joined the team at Thirty Bench Wine Makers and in 2010 took over the duties of head winemaker. Garner is a big believer in letting the site and vineyard express itself, her minimal intervention winemaking style a key to why the judges so richly rewarded her entries. Emma also grabbed the 2015 Winemaker of the Year award at the Ontario Wine Awards earlier this year. Adding the WineAlign Best Performing Small Winery Award to her resume only confirms that small is beautiful.


Thirty Bench won: 1 Platinum, 2 Gold, 6 Silver & 3 Bronze medals at this year’s awards.

Thirty Bench 2013 Riesling Small Lot Triangle Vineyard

Thirty Bench 2014 Small Lot Wild Cask Riesling
Thirty Bench 2013 Small Lot Gewurztraminer

Thirty Bench 2012 Benchmark Red
Thirty Bench 2014 Riesling
Thirty Bench 2014 Small Lot Rose
Thirty Bench 2012 Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon
Thirty Bench 2013 Small Lot Chardonnay
Thirty Bench 2012 Small Lot Merlot

Thirty Bench 2013 Riesling
Thirty Bench 2013 Small Lot Riesling Steel Post Vineyard
Thirty Bench 2013 Red

Related Articles:

Medals of Honour

Mission Hill Captures its 4th Canadian Winery of the Year Award

A Record Medal Haul, A Widening Range of Wines

The RESULTS of the 2015 National Wine Awards of Canada

Canada’s Top Wineries


We would like to acknowledge the following sponsors: Fortessa Canada for the quality, and virtually indestructable, Schott Zwiesel glassware used throughout the judging, Container World for shipping and logistics and Dairy Farmers of Canada for their ongoing support of  our Awards. A special thank you to Jason Dziver for the above images, as well as for each and every Awards bottle image appearing our site. You can see more of his work at Jason Dziver Photography.

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