Our History

The Ontario Wine Awards were founded by Tony Aspler, Order of Canada Recipient, as a means of showcasing the best of Ontario VQA Wines. As an international wine consultant and judge with extensive experience in Europe and the new world, Tony is recognized as one of the leading authorities on Canadian wines.

In 1995, Tony approached Air Canada’s Air Ontario with the concept and request for sponsorship of an Ontario based awards program. Embraced by both the airline and wine industry, the Ontario Wine Awards program was born, helping to establish Ontario wines as some of the most sought after and respected in the industry.

In 2001, Air Ontario was disbanded. Following the departure of the airlines’ sponsorship, Tony teamed up with several corporate sponsors. It is with their continued dedication and support over the years that help bring the industry the regional, national and international attention it deserves.

Today, the Ontario Wine Awards boasts the participation of some 70+ wineries and more than 500 of the best VQA wines that Ontario has to offer. The awards pay homage to the hundreds of small businesses, farmers, restaurateurs and thousands of employees who dedicate their livelihoods to a prosperous Ontario.