By Kathy Michaels
Monday was a banner day for West Kelowna wine maker Karnail Sidhu.
Kalala Organic Estate Winery took home two gold medals from two wine competitions a world apart. The first came from the 17th annual Chardonnay du Monde wine competition in France. There his 2007 Chardonnay ice wine was the only Canadian vintage to gain acclaim, earning gold in an event he calls the “the Oscar’s of wine making.”
“This is the first time we ever entered and it’s the only wine we entered,” said Sidhu, owner and operator of the winery. “It means lots to us. It proves that we know what we are doing with our new winery.”
Shortly after learning about their golden standing at Chardonnay du Monde, he was informed their Riesling took gold at California’s New World International Wine competition.
While wineries winning awards is something locals may have become accustomed to, Sidhu’s golds are an impressive feat. Kalala Estate winery is still new, only opening its doors in July of 2008, meaning its name doesn’t yet carry the weight of its contemporaries.
“If you go to any stores, they look for what medals you have and sometimes they don’t talk to new people,” he said. “If you say you’re a winery owner, people don’t pay much attention. This makes a statement: We know how to make wine.”
The winery will be certified organic this year, and his farm practices have been organic from day one. And, despite starting business during one of the worst economies, Sidhu said it’s helped him run his business leaner and meaner, and he’ll be around for a long time to prove it.
The Chardonnay du Monde® international competition recognizes the world’s best Chardonnay wines by awarding them with reliable and representative medals. This competition is based on a single conviction: distinctive marks of quality are the key to real differentiation and therefore enhancing the value of the awarded wines in this highly competitive market where the array of products becomes more vast each day. Award-winning wineries can use this recognition for sales purposes by placing medal stickers on their bottles. Its 300 judges sample 887 wines from 37 countrie
After four days of judging, the panels awarded medals to 296 participants. This year, the panel doesn’t award Gold Medals of Excellence.