Media Releases

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top 25 wines announced; list includes wines from all corners of the world

Tourism Whistler media release
For immediate release - October 16, 2012

Top 25 wines announced; list includes wines from all corners of the world

Suggested tweet: Meander around the world without leaving #Whistler. @CornucopiaWine Top 25 wines is an international affair.





Whistler, B.C. – After an afternoon of sniffing, swirling, and tasting; 25 wines have been selected as the Top 25 wines for the 16th annual Cornucopia, presented by North Shore Credit Union.

DJ Kearney, international wine educator, wine writer, and festival presenter led the panel as head judge alongside a diverse group of professionals to form an esteemed panel of 10 judges.  Each judge is recognized as an expert in various fields within the B.C. wine industry including wine directors, wine consultants, food and wine writers, wine instructors and a couple of “Sommelier of the Year” award recipients.  This panel gathered on October 10 at Yaletown’s V Lounge by Earl’s to spend several hours sampling wines from a respectable list of submissions from around the world.

With characteristics such as colour, aroma, flavour and finish to take into evaluation; the panel added the points and the top 25 wines were chosen.  The judges also selected three wines as the Top Red, Top White and Top Sparkling in this best of the best festival event. This year’s Top 25 are:

1. Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 – TOP RED WINE
2. Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Chardonnay 2011 – TOP WHITE WINE
3. Cristalino Cava Brut – TOP SPARKLING WINE
4. Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut
5. Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009
6. Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
7. Therapy Vineyards Freudian Sip 2011
8. Stoneboat Vineyards Chorus 2011
9. Therapy Vineyards Freud’s Ego 2009
10. Villa Matilde Aglianico della Campania IGT 2009
11. Peter Dennis Shiraz 2010
12. Fuse Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
13. Canella Prosecco DOC
14. Antano Crianza Rioja 2008
15. DeAngelis Anghelos Marche Rosso IGT 2008
16. Speri’La Roverina’ Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC 2009
17. Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage 2009
18. Frontaura Crianza 2005
19. Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
20. Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya 2009
21. Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Gris 2011
22. O. Fournier Urban Uco Malbec-Tempranillo 2011
23. Bottega Prosecco Spumante DOC 2011
24. Rodney Strong Vineyards Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
25. Perseus Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Cornucopia participants will have the opportunity to sample these wines at the Crush, Gala Grand Tasting, Trade Tasting (exclusive to industry professionals) and at the Top 25 Celebratory Reception being held in the stunning Istken Hall at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural CentreInsider tip: the reception tends to be a hot ticket item and sells out annually – so don’t miss out on your chance to congratulate the  winners; get your ticket early.

The majority of the judges that took part in the panel are also involved in the festival as seminar presenters or as a host at their respective restaurant’s winery dinner. The festival schedule lists all seminars and presenters so participants can take advantage of learning from this esteemed group. The panel consisted of:

Michelle Bouffard
David Foran
Harry Hertscheg
DJ Kearney, Head Judge
Kurtis Kolt
Judith Lane
Sebastien Le Goff
Michaela Morris
Iain Philip
Daenna van Mulligen

Visit for ticket and event information. Cornucopia packages are available on starting at $94 per person/per night*.

In addition, guests will want to book their winter vacation packages by November 15 and save up to 39 per cent on winter stay and ski packages that include lodging and lift tickets. Plus, kids stay, ski, rent & shuttle for free. The Book Early and Save promotion promises the lowest rates of the season and the Best Price Guarantee.

Faces of Cornucopia

Wine Director Samantha Rahn, Araxi restaurant + bar

A passionate sommelier and world-traveller, Samantha arrived at Araxi in October 2007 following a tour through Burgundy where she joined in the harvest pick at Domaine Michel Gros, Vosne Romanée. More recently she visited Austria, further familiarizing herself with country’s wines. Previously residing in Banff, Rahn was wine director at the award-winning Maple Leaf Grille for six years where she led the restaurant to numerous recognitions, including Wine Spectator’s ‘Best of’ Award of Excellence.

Trained at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and with over 15 years of hospitality experience, Samantha sources exciting, value-driven wines to complement Araxi's highly acclaimed, 11,000 bottle library. “My vision for Araxi is to continue building the wine culture in the restaurant and sharing my passion with as many people as possible,” she says. “I pride myself on my genuine, honest, friendly approach. Wine is pleasure!”

An accomplished musician, Samantha is also a former snowboard cross racer, certified snowboard coach and avid downhill mountain bike competitor.




Cornucopia is a five day dazzling display of gourmet food and wines, attracting more than 10,000 people to the resort – and catering to everyone from amateur enthusiasts to aficionados. Respected industry professionals, judges and presenters headline each event, seminar and tasting, offering the best possible opportunity to garner as much information and insight as possible. Held on the cusp of the opening of each ski season in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia, Cornucopia was designed to showcase and support the local food and wine industry. Now encompassing wineries and restaurants from Vancouver, greater B.C. and beyond, Cornucopia has become internationally recognized as a preeminent representation of the culinary and viticulture tourism industry in Canada. With widespread appeal shown through the immense variety of events available, the festival is truly a food and wine festival with a Whistler attitude.

Whistler is Canada's premier year-round leisure and meeting destination located in the Coast Mountains 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Consistently rated the top ski resort in North America, Whistler was the Host Mountain Resort of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The resort offers an extensive range of accommodations totaling 10,000 bedrooms among 24 hotels as well as townhomes, condos, B&Bs and chalets. Whistler also boasts more than 100 restaurants and bars, 200 retail shops, 25 spas and countless activity options from world-renowned skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking and golf, to hiking, rock climbing, and watersports. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is home to a diverse community of more than 10,000 permanent residents.

Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing and sales organization representing Whistler, operating the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Visitor Centre, as well as 1.800.WHISTLER and - Whistler's official source for visitor bookings and information. As the convention and visitors bureau for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler represents more than 7,000 members who own, manage and operate properties or businesses on resort lands including hotels, restaurants, activity operators and retail shops.

Media can visit for Whistler facts, media releases, story starters, local personality profiles and access to images and B-roll.

Broadcasters: Whistler now has the capability to take you live with our enhanced fibre network.  The significantly expanded network of more than 200 kilometres of fibre optic cabling throughout the resort allows instant transmission of HD signals to any location at any time.  Details on how to access, and book the fibre are available on our media site.

Media Contacts

Mary Zinck
Specialist, Travel Media
T: 604.938.2702