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Fort Berens Wins First Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in BC Wines

Date: 06/19/14

A breakthrough for BC's emerging wine region


LILLOOET, BC. Fort Berens 2012 Riesling was just awarded the very prestigious 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in British Columbia Wines. Located in Lillooet, in the Fraser Canyon, this award marks the first ever Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Fort Berens and the first for this emerging wine region.

Rolf de Bruin, founder and one of the owners of Fort Berens expressed his heartfelt appreciation for this recognition. “This prestigious award is an important milestone for our growing business and the emerging wine region in Lillooet. We have worked very hard on achieving a level of quality that would be worthy of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in BC Wines. This award for our 100% estate grown 2012 Riesling shows that the Lillooet region has the capacity to produce grapes of such high quality.”

Winery co-owner Heleen Pannekoek explained, “We established Fort Berens as the first winery in Lillooet in 2009. To be just five years along this journey and to win such an honour is incredibly humbling for Rolf and myself, the rest of our ownership team and our staff. We have been able to form a great team of very passionate and dedicated people. Our winery attracts pioneering spirits seeking new adventures that provide them with a chance to mindfully and responsibly explore uncharted territory. Together, we have discovered a new viticultural region in British Columbia that we continue to explore and develop.”

Rolf continued, “Our 2012 Riesling was one of just 12 wines from BC that received this award. Given that this year was the largest competition in the 12-year history of the Lieutenant Governors awards, with 436 wines submitted from 119 wineries across the province, we are truly honoured.”

Although the 2012 Riesling is now in short supply, the 2013 Riesling, which is also made from 100 percent estate-grown grapes, is now available and also receiving wonderful early-praise and recognition including a Gold Medal at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition at the end of April and a Silver Medal at both the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition and the 2014 Riverside International Wine Competition.

Her Honour, the Honourable Judith Guichon, will visit Fort Berens Estate Winery on Saturday, July 26 to present this award. Her Honour will be accompanied by 40 members of the Vancouver Consul Corps. For the full list of winners and for more information visit

2014 is shaping up to be a tremendous year for Fort Berens. They are nearing completion of the building of their new winery, which will open later in July. They will need to find a special shelf in the new winery for this prestigious award.

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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