KELOWNA, BC--(Marketwired - July 14, 2014) -  The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) is pleased to announce the results of the inaugural Canadian Wine Industry Awards. These prestigious awards recognize individuals, organizations and businesses that have gone above and beyond to support and enhance the wine industry in Canada, celebrating the success, leadership and outstanding commitment in Canada's grape wine industry. 

"It is a great honour to recognize George and Trudy Heiss of Gray Monk Estates, British Columbia's oldest family owned and operated winery, with the Award of Distinction," said Tony Stewart, CVA Chair and President of Quails' Gate Winery. "The Heiss' are trail blazers and can be credited with bringing many high quality vinifera vines to Canada, as well as helping to establish the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA)." 

The Award of Distinction is the preeminent award for the Canadian wine industry and regarded as the highest form of peer recognition and appreciation of outstanding leadership, commitment and passion for the advancement of the Canadian wine industry.

The Wine Industry Champion Award was presented to Dean Allison, federal Member of Parliament for the Niagara West-Glanbrook riding in Ontario, recognizing Mr. Allison's exemplary support for the Canadian wine industry and contributions to the overall strength and long-term viability of the industry. 

"As the champion of the excise duty exemption on 100% Canadian wine in 2006, Mr. Allison has strengthened every single Canadian winery," remarked Stewart. "Over the last decade, Mr. Allison has supported the Canadian wine industry through fostering stronger federal relationships and endorsing key legislation, including the most recent federal Icewine definition."

The awards were presented on July 8, 2014, in concert with the BC Wine Institute's Wine Industry Recognition Award, which recognized CedarCreek Estate Winery founder, Senator Ross Fitzpatrick. The event was held in Kelowna, BC, at CedarCreek Estate Winery with 150 industry and political guests of honour.


Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction

The recipients of the 2014 Award of Distinction are George and Trudy Heiss of Gray Monk Estates, British Columbia's oldest family owned and operated winery.

George and Trudy moved to the Okanagan from Edmonton in 1972 and in 1982, they opened a winery with a production of 175 cases. Four decades of grape growing and three decades of winemaking have passed for this visionary couple, filled with national and international recognition for their wines. Today, Gray Monk has exceeded 80,000 cases per year of wine production.

Among many accomplishments, George and Trudy introduced high quality vinifera vines to Canada. In 1976, they imported and planted 50 vines of Pinot Gris from France. These were the first plantings of Pinot Gris in Canada, which today is recognized as not only the signature grape of Gray Monk, but as the top planted white varietal in the Okanagan, with a growing presence across Canada.

The Heiss' were always team players when introducing new varietals to the Okanagan, which played a key role in laying the foundation for quality wine in British Columbia and the nation. They were trail blazers in the creation of the BC Wine Institute and founding members in the creation of the Vintners Quality Alliance, with George serving as a Board Member of VQA Canada.

George and Trudy have spent a large part of their life promoting quality Canadian wine and standards, and have helped shape this great industry and the wines we enjoy today.

Canadian Wine Industry Champion Award

The recipient of the 2014 Wine Industry Champion Award is Dean Allison, federal Member of Parliament for the Niagara West-Glanbrook Riding in Ontario, Canada's largest wine riding.

Dean was elected in 2004, and became the first-ever Chair of the National Wine Caucus and key supporter for the creation of the annual "Vintners Day on the Hill" and "Canadian Wine Reception." Dean was also the main champion of the successful introduction of the excise duty exemption on wine made from 100% Canadian agricultural products. Working closely with the Canadian Vintners Association, this successful tax benefit has increased in value from $11.5 million in 2006 to $42 million in 2012, contributing more than $200 million in excise support to the Canadian wine industry to date.

Dean is steadfast in his support for the development and success of the Canadian wine industry, and this award recognizes his long-standing contribution to the strengthening of every single winery in Canada.

About the Canadian Vintners Association

The CVA is the national voice of the Canadian wine industry, representing more than 90% of Canada's annual wine production. CVA members are engaged in the entire wine value chain: from grape growing, farm management, grape harvesting, research, wine production, bottling, retail sales and tourism. (

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Contact Information:

For more information, contact:

Beth McMahon
Vice President, Government & Public Affairs
Canadian Vintners Association
(613) 755-2736