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Fort Berens Estate Winery

Rolf de Bruin
November 19, 2013 | Rolf de Bruin

Press Release: Fort Berens Chardonnay White Wine of the Year


November 19, 2013

Cornucopia’s White Wine of the Year Award!

LILLOOET, BC.  The Fort Berens Estate Winery team is back from their recent adventure to Whistler with some great news. Their 2012 Chardonnay picked up the distinguished title of “White Wine of the Year” at Cornucopia, an annual celebration of food and wine, which was held in Whistler Nov. 7-17th.

Winery co-owner Heleen Pannekoek, who accepted the award on behalf of the Fort Berens team, is absolutely thrilled. Pannekoek explained, “Winning White Wine of the Year at Cornucopia is a huge honour for our team. We founded the winery in 2009, and to win such an important award so early on in our winemaking career shows us we are on the right path. We were so pleased to learn that our Chardonnay won amongst so many other amazing white wines.”

Pannekoek continued, “This award is very special for us for another reason as well.  Our 2012 Chardonnay is our first 100% estate grown Chardonnay. This award is confirmation that the terroir in Lillooet is well suited to growing top-quality Chardonnay. Our vineyard team has done a fantastic job of nurturing the vines to maturity and that care is reflected in the 2012 vintage.” For more information on the awards, visit

Heleen’s husband and winery co-founder Rolf de Bruin added, “About 30% of the volume was fermented and aged in new and seasoned French barrels, while the remainder was fermented cool in stainless steel tanks. We created a wine that is vibrant in its fruit profile with a lingering finish that is perfectly paired with scallops or poached salmon.”

Beppi Crosariol from the Globe and Mail, gave this wine 90 points and stated in a recent review, “This is their first 100-per-cent all-estate chardonnay. Remarkable, too. Full-bodied and mellow, it shows surprisingly ripe pineapple and stone-fruit flavours, with a buttery texture enlivened by bright acidity. If this were made in California, it would easily fetch twice the price.”

Although produced in limited quantities, you can still purchase some of the 2012 Chardonnay from the winery direct, via VQA stores and from select fine wine stores and restaurants. It is reasonably priced at $18.99 a bottle.

Cornucopia is a must-experience wine and food festival held annually in Whistler. It celebrates an exemplary culinary scene and impeccable wines, offering a truly sensory experience, with winery dinners, interactive seminars, gala wine tastings and electric after-parties. For more information, visit

Fort Berens Estate Winery is the first winery in Lillooet, BC. It is located on a sage-brush covered bench at the base of the Fraser Canyon’s snow-capped mountains. For more information, call 1.877.956.7768, visit, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


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