Results of the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada (The Nationals)

Fruit Wine

Category Overview by Judge Michael Godel

Fruit wine is essentially defined as an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of an organic material other than grapes. Fruits that are most commonly employed are blueberries, cranberries, peaches, plums, raspberries and Saskatoon berries. Other organic materials are not as common but fruit wine could me made using flowering plants or tubers. And if you’re making fruit wine you can (if you so choose and unlike grapes) use damaged or frozen fruit with negligible-negative effect on quality.

(Jump straight to the medal winners.)

The average level of alcohol in wine made from fruit (and other substances) is usually in the 9-12 per cent range as opposed to 11-14 percent in those made with grapes. The reality of these wines is that the cost of land, agriculture and production is less expensive plus the possibility of more than one harvest exists within the same calendar year, even with the same product but especially from a farm growing multiple fruit commodities. Fruit wines also require much shorter periods of élevage before being bottled and released. In terms of taste and flavour the equation seems quite simple. If you love the sweet, tart and tangy taste of raspberries then chances are you’ll love raspberry wine. Which brings us to the answer many of you are likely thinking if not begging to ask. How do a group of twenty-something judges so adept at assessing wines made from grapes make professional decisions on wines made from other fruit? The answer is not a shocker. If a fruit wine smells, tastes and acts like the fruit from whence it came then it means something has gone very right. Add to that the classic concept of balance between fruit and acid achieved and fruit’s your friend.

At this year’s Nationals there were 11 medals awarded to this eclectic group of wines made from fruits other than grapes; two Gold, three silver and seven Bronze. Even more interesting is the fact that two were fortified and three were sparkling wines. British Columbian fruit wines took home six medals, Ontario bagged five and one came from New Brunswick. Strawberry, Cassis, apple, apricot, cranberry and blueberry were represented, including the famed Reka example from out of the Fraser Valley. Congratulations to all the winners, including our two Gold Medal winners. One of the judges said that the Maan Farms Estate Winery 2018 Strawberry Dessert (Fortified) “by all appearances could be an Oloroso or Amontillado Sherry” and another referred to the Krause Berry Farms Cassis as “this absolute ripper of a fruit wine.” It was a great showing by all in this important Canadian wine category.

And the winners are…

Krause Berry Farms Cassis, Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Maan Farms Estate Winery 2018 Strawberry Dessert (Fortified), Fraser Valley, British Columbia

Crooked Sparkling Apple, New Brunswick
Northern Lights 2018 Fond Memories Apricot Wine, British Columbia
Southbrook Canadian Framboise, Ontario

Bay of Quinte Apple Wine, Ontario
Krause Berry Farms Eureka, Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Krause Berry Farms Sparkling Blueberry, Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Muskoka Lakes 2016 Blueberry Wine
Muskoka Lakes 2018 Cranberry Wine, Ontario
Muskoka Lakes 2018 Georgian Bay Rosé, Ontario
Northern Lights 2017 Blueberry Port, British Columbia