VINELAND STATION, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 7, 2013) - In a presentation ceremony today, Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Government of Ontario have awarded The Foreign Affair Winery with The Minister's Award for Innovation for their innovative approach to wine making and their commitment to Ontario viniculture.

In her remarks, Premier Wynne noted, "(Their) innovation isn't limited to the vineyard. Their Foreign Affair Winery produces 14 different wines using 100 per cent Ontario grapes, all in a unique appassimento process. Rather than simply recreating the Amarones they adored in Italy, the Crispinos pioneered a Canadian approach."

The appassimento process, used to create the legendary Amarone wines of Italy, requires a drying process for the grapes after the harvest to concentrate the sugars and the flavours while reducing the percentage of water in the grapes.

"This is a difficult technique - and we've certainly had our share of failures including the loss of 15 tons of grapes in our first year," said Len Crispino, Proprietor of The Foreign Affair. "However the results and now this award, speak to the success we've had pioneering, adapting and bringing to life this technique in the Canadian market. The technique requires a continuum of care from vineyard to bottle."

Len and his wife Marisa were inspired to develop a Canadian version of this beloved Amarone following a stint as expats in Italy. Later joined by their business partner Louis Cimicata, Len and Marisa acquired a 40 acre site, of prime southern sloping land in Niagara's Vineland. The winery produces a range of wines, all benefitting from their uniquely developed appassimento techniques.

As committed entrepreneurs Len and Marisa credit their success to determined vision, risk taking and an unwillingness to be deterred by challenges.

This is not the first award recognizing the innovation and dedication of the winery. In 2012, New York State's Niagara University awarded Len and the winery with "Business Leader of the Year". And last year the Speaker of the Legislature announced The Foreign Affair 2011 Conspiracy (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in a ripasso method) as official red wine for 2012.

Len's dedication and belief in Ontario's wine potential stems from the early 90's when he led an effort to enter Ontario wines into the VinItaly international competitions, encouraging Ontario wineries to compete with the very best. In doing so, a number of Ontario wineries earned inaugural respect in this international arena.

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Contact Information:

Len Crispino
Proprietor of The Foreign Affair Winery