Two Okanagan wineries earned world-class bragging rights at the 2018 Chardonnay du Monde competition held March 7 to 9 in France.
The Chardonnay gold medal was awarded to Liquidity Estate Winery in Okanagan Falls, while the Kalala Organic Estate Winery in West Kelowna won second place overall and earned one of 13 gold medals this year.
The competition featured more than 679 competitors from 39 wine-producing countries.
Liquidity Winery initially began as a vineyard in the 1970s and was most recently purchased by a business consortium led by Ian MacDonald, a Vancouver businessman, and they proceeded to add the winery aspect to the property.
MacDonald says his goal is to have Liquidity recognized as one of the premiere boutique wineries in Canada.
Kalala’s Chardonnay icewine was judged number one in 2016 and placed in the top 10 worldwide in 2010 and 2014 before earning its second place award for 2017.
“This competition is our Olympics,” said Kalala, founder and owner Karnail Singh Sidhu. “We feel proud to be up in second place, and we feel proud of Liquidity for top place.
“To be judged the world’s two top Chardonnays is good, even great, not just for the Okanagan and B.C. wine producers, but for the entire wine industry in Canada.
“To be honest, we weren’t surprised to be recognized again among some of the best winemakers in the world. We have learned from each other the secrets to making good wine. Number one is to grow good grapes. Then we’re not in a hurry. We extend the aging and fermentation process a bit to make the wine more flavourful and raise the alcohol level a little higher.”
Sidhu credits Okanagan wine industry consultant Alan Marks with encouraging Kalala’s ongoing pursuit of excellence.
Marks, in turn, says he has not been surprised to watch Kalala’s medal count rise in a highly competitive field.
“A lot of wineries make icewine,” Marks said. “Some think, as long as they have frozen grapes, they’re good to go. Growing excellent grapes can be a bit overlooked. Karnail knows the relationship between exceptional grapes and exceptional wine.”
“Some grape varieties come and go but Chardonnay grapes never grow out of fashion. Here in West Kelowna we have nice growing conditions—good soil with good exposure to the sun.”
Among its distinctive qualities, Kalala’s Chardonnay icewine is renowned for ‘cool climate’ flavours and aromas that have been described as “like honeysuckle, lemon and apricot.”
The Kalala winery was founded in 2006 and was certified as organic in 2010.
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