KELOWNA, British Columbia, July 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Canadian Wine Industry Awards alongside headline sponsor, MNP. 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.

The winner of the Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction - regarded as the highest form of peer recognition in the Canadian wine industry - is Anthony von Mandl, O.C., O.B.C. For more than 40 years von Mandl has dedicated his life’s work to an audacious dream: to produce world-class wines in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and showcase them at architectural landmark wineries that attract visitors from around the world. Today, the von Mandl Family’s collection of Estate vineyards and luxury wineries includes Mission Hill Family Estate, CedarCreek Estate Winery, CheckMate Artisanal Winery, and the radical new gravity-fed Martin’s Lane Winery which crafts exceptional Pinot Noir and Riesling wines that have captured the world’s attention.

“Anthony’s lifelong commitment to putting the Okanagan Valley on the international map as a region producing world class wine, is remarkable,” said Dan Paszkowski, President and CEO of the Canadian Vintners Association. “His vision and dedication have been instrumental in the development of the BC wine industry, a region whose exceptional quality wines can stand alongside the best in the world.”

The Wine Industry Champion Award, presented to an individual who has provided exemplary support to the Canadian wine industry through media, research, policy or advocacy, was awarded to David Lawrason, a wine journalist who has spent over 30 years reporting on wine, and making wine more accessible to Canadian consumers. Toronto-based Lawrason has travelled across Canada, tasting thousands of Canadian wines and sharing his observations with consumers from coast to coast.

“I am thrilled to honour David’s exceptional contribution to consumer wine education today,” stated Paszkowski. “David’s dedication to Canadian wine whether through co-founding As the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada, or teaching the Canadian Wine Scholar course are a snapshot of how hard he has worked to educate Canadian consumers about Canada’s high-quality fine wines.”

The Canadian Vintners Association was thrilled to add a third award to its Canadian Wine Industry Awards in 2018. The Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award, was created to celebrate great Canadian winemakers, in honour of the legacy of the late Karl Kaiser, a Canadian wine industry pioneer and viticultural visionary. The recipient of this inaugural award was Bruce Nicholson, Senior Winemaker at Inniskillin.

“There is no-one more deserving of this inaugural Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award than Bruce. With over 30 years of experience in both British Columbia and Ontario, he has made world-class wines that have gained international acclaim, shared his skills and knowledge with a new generation of winemakers, and continues to demonstrate the endless potential for Canadian wines,” remarked Paszkowski.

The awards were presented on July 10, 2018, in concert with the BC Wine Institute's Wine Industry Recognition Award and Award of Distinction, following the CVA’s 51st Annual Meeting which brought together winery owners from across Canada to hear from a panel of speakers, presenting on retail opportunities and market trends in the industry.


Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction
The recipient of the 2018 Award of Distinction is Anthony von Mandl.

Anthony von Mandl began in the wine trade as an importer and merchant of fine wines. When the time came to invest in a winery, he put down roots in his native British Columbia, in the then largely unknown Okanagan Valley, where he helped to pioneer the valley’s reputation as a producer of fine wines. He was absolutely convinced that given time and patience, his beloved valley could produce sophisticated wines for an international audience.

Founding Mission Hill Family Estate in 1981, he undertook unprecedented investments in grape growing and winemaking, and went on to complete a six-year transformation of the original winery, determined to build a destination with intergenerational appeal to tourists and Canadians alike. The winery has grown to become one of the region’s largest and best-known, most recently being named Canadian Winery of the Year in 2016 for the sixth time.

An acclaimed entrepreneur, von Mandl was a recipient of the Order of British Columbia in 2006 and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2016.

Canadian Wine Industry Champion Award
The recipient of the 2018 Wine Industry Champion Award is David Lawrason.

David Lawrason has been an independent, full time wine journalist, educator and wine competition judge since 1986. Formerly with the Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, Ottawa magazine and Wine Access magazine, he is currently VP of Wine at Residing in Toronto, he is the co-chief judge of the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada, founded in 2001.

In addition to being a journalist, Lawrason is also an active wine educator, facilitating wine education seminars right across Canada through Fine Vintage Ltd. He teaches WSET courses as well as sensory courses and the Canadian Wine Scholar course. In 2005 he also became National Wine Advisor to Gold Medal Plates ( an ambitious program which celebrates Canadian chefs through wine and food pairing experiences across the country, all the while fundraising for the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

The Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award
The recipient of the 2018 The Karl Kaiser Canadian Winemaker Award is Bruce Nicholson.

Bruce Nicholson has worked in the wine industry for over 30 years, having worked at Jackson Triggs from 1993 until 2007, and moving to Inniskillin in 2007. Under his stewardship, Jackson Triggs became the most awarded wine brand in Canada and won the Best Shiraz in the World award in 2006. Inniskillin, in turn, won the Top Canadian Producer award in 2012. These are just a few examples of the many national and international awards Jackson Triggs and Inniskillin have won with Nicholson as their winemaker. 

Nicholson’s dedication, meticulous winemaking skills and readiness to mentor assistant winemakers and interns has gained him huge respect within the industry. He has produced a range of wine, including table wine, sparkling wine and Icewine, and produces around 150,000 cases of wine annually.

Nicholson is a member of VQA Ontario’s Standards Committee and has previously been a member of the Wine Council of Ontario’s Sustainable Winemaking Committee. He has also pioneered waste reduction at Inniskillin, including through bioenergy and through off-site, third-party grape seed oil production.

About the Canadian Vintners Association

The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) is the national voice of the Canadian wine industry, representing more than 90% of 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.

About MNP

MNP is a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada. Through partner-led engagements, MNP provides a collaborative, cost-effective approach to doing business and personalized strategies to help organizations succeed in Canada and internationally, and has an extensive history of working with food and beverage processors.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Media Contact:

Caroline Henderson
Manager, Programs & Regulatory Affairs 
Canadian Vintners Association
(613) 854-7732