Published Date

OKANAGAN VALLEY, BC, May 13, 2019 /CNW/ - What originally began as an outrageous dream has achieved the unthinkable: CheckMate Artisanal Winery has been awarded a perfect 100-point score for its 2015 Little Pawn Chardonnay, the first time a Canadian table wine has ever achieved a perfect score.   


CheckMate Artisanal Winery was born out of a bold vision that by harnessing the effects of climate change it would now be possible to produce +$100 elegant, Burgundian-style Chardonnay in a very unexpected place, British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.  

"This is a momentous achievement for the entire Okanagan Valley," said Proprietor Anthony von Mandl, O.C., O.B.C. "It's exhilarating to taste a wine that reaches this pinnacle of quality. It's like a beautiful work of art, every sip is telling its story about its origin and its vintage. With each vintage the quality and character of these wines continues to improve. The realization that wines of this calibre are meticulously grown in our family's own vineyards in the Okanagan Valley make this recognition even more gratifying."

Dr. Gregory Jones, PhD1, one of the world's most preeminent experts on climate and viticulture commented: "Twenty years ago, it would not have been possible to make a wine of this calibre in the Okanagan.  The world's wine map is changing. This is largely the result of changes in climate that have shifted wine styles in some regions. For the Okanagan Valley, climate change has transformed it into a magical place to grow and ripen fruit and produce world-class wines such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir."

Australian-born winemaker Philip McGahan was enticed to leave Williams Selyem Winery in Sonoma to come to the Okanagan with the sole purpose of working within this new climatic band for winemaking to craft 'New World' Chardonnay with 'Old World Elegance' at CheckMate Artisanal Winery.  These extremely small lots of Chardonnay and Merlot display impeccable character, integrity and quality, and are the culmination of more than three decades of sustainable farming and pushing the boundaries of winemaking in the Okanagan.

"Winemaking is like the game of Chess, it requires the winemaker to think many steps ahead, anticipating the impact each move will have at a later point in time," said McGahan. "Just like a Grandmaster has a game plan, a winemaker heads into each growing season with a clear vision, a plan for contingencies, and you must stay true to your resolve. When that resolve is to craft world-class wines and you ultimately achieve it, you have truly mastered your craft."

There's an interesting twist to this story, perhaps even a premonition. In 1994, the Okanagan was first placed on the world wine map with a surprise win by Mission Hill Family Estate for 'Top Chardonnay in the World' at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. The grapes for this award-winning wine were grown in the same vineyard used today for CheckMate. This site is home to possibly the oldest vines in Canada, dating back some 45 years, including a mysterious Chardonnay clone of unknown origin that formed the backbone of the 1994 'Best Chardonnay in the World' Trophy winner in London and this 100-point Little Pawn Chardonnay.

The 100-point score was awarded by John Schreiner, wine writer, sommelier and author of over 15 books on the subject of Canadian wine. In his review of the 2015 Little Pawn Chardonnay he noted: "It takes a considerable investment to make wines like these, starting with practises in the vineyard and carrying through to the winemaking. It is impossible to find anything negative about this wine."

The 100-point 2015 Little Pawn Chardonnay is available only at CheckMate Artisanal Winery where visitors have a rare opportunity to taste these wines at The Installation, an innovative 'pop up' tasting room designed by Seattle-based architect Tom Kundig.  Currently in construction is a brand new contemporary winemaking facility, tasting room and members' lounge that will completely transform the winery into a work of art on its own.

CheckMate Artisanal Winery crafts a portfolio of Chardonnay and Merlot utilizing wild yeast ferments and without recourse to fining and filtration, to let nature take its course. These wines have earned more than one-hundred +90-point scores from critics around the world, including Steven Spurrier, Anthony Gismondi, Christopher Waters, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator which heralded them as "…some of the best young wines coming out of Canada today."

CheckMate's current Chardonnay and Merlot vintages and library wines are available to order via the winery's website at

Published Date

May 7, 2019

The story of a small family distillery in the Black Forest sounds like a fairy-tale: the finest spirits have been produced by hand in a small valley here since 1844. Now, their gin is drawing great attention worldwide.

BOAR Gin from the Black Forest is being awarded gold medals in renowned completions around the world. The Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (DLG) [German Agricultural Society] awarded it the gold and certified it as being the best gin in Germany. At the Global Spirit Awards in Las Vegas, BOAR Gin was chosen as the best gin and the best clear spirit in the world. In New York, the BOAR distillery was only recently chosen as the “Distillery of the Year”.

The traditional distillery is breaking new ground in the production of fine distillates in terms of flavour and quality. It refines and harmonises its BOAR Gin with mountain spring water rich in minerals and the rare Black Forest truffle. This worldwide unique production process confers this London Dry Gin a mild and complex flavour profile and a particular identity.

In 2011, a small monkey made the Black Forest world-famous as a gourmet region. Now, one of the best gins of the world has returned from the Black Forest and still impresses juries in 34 international competitions on many continents today.

“At our Black Forest distillery, we distil with our hearts, hands and wood from our own forest”, says Markus Kessler, the great-great-great-grandson of Andreas Kessler, who founded his distillery 175 years ago.

The eponym and icon of the BOAR gin is a real native of the pristine forests of the Black Forest - the wild boar (the male wild pig).

Find more information on BOAR Gin at

Excerpt of awards

Frankfurt International Trophy 2019 – Big Gold – Best London Dry Gin
World Spirits Competition San Francisco 2017 – Gold
New York Spirits Competition 2018 - Distillery of the Year
DLG - Gold 2018 + 2019 (Black Edition)
DLG – Best Gin 2018 + 2019 (Black Edition)
Meininger International Spirit Award 2018 - Gold
Global Spirits Awards Las Vegas 2017 – Double Gold
Global Spirits Awards Las Vegas 2017 - Best Gin
Global Spirits Awards Las Vegas 2017 – Best white Spirit
SIP Awards USA 2018 - Platin
Concours de Lyon 2018 – Gold (Black Edition)
Frankfurt International Trophy 2018 - Gold
CWSA Hong Kong2018 – Double Gold
Los Angeles Spirits Competition 2017 - Gold
New York Spirits Competition 2018 - Gold
World Spirit Awards Wien 2017 – Gold

Published Date
NORWALK, Conn., May 2, 2019 – Zero sugar, one-hundred percent flavor and three new variants – if it sounds too good to be true, that’s probably because you haven’t tried new Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions yet. The new line from Smirnoff comes just in time for the warmer months and as a more balanced lifestyle is top of mind for many. In fact, seventy-seven percent of people are reporting cutting back on added sugars.1 Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions offers a zero sugar option with all the flavor, perfect for those who want to have their (sugar-free) cake and eat it too!



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