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Winning winery

The Niagara College Teaching Winery has yet to be officially opened, but it's already in the spotlight, having captured two awards.

The winery's 2001 barrel-fermented, barrel-aged Chardonnay was selected not only Best Chardonnay but also Best White Wine at the Canadian Wine Awards competition held in Victoria, British Columbia.

"We couldn't have asked for a better start to the winery," said Steve Gill, co-ordinator of the college's Winery and Viticulture Technician program.

"These awards are a fabulous endorsement of the quality of our program and facilities, our resident professor-winemaker and our students."

The first in Canada, the college's "micro" teaching winery was established with the generous support of local wineries and winery suppliers in response to the need for skilled workers in the region's thriving grape and wine industry. It is a key component to the College's Winery and Viticulture Technician program, which teaches students every aspect of the wine industry, from vineyard management to marketing the final product.

The modest winery, contained in a section of a storage barn on the college's Glendale campus, produced 450 cases last year, and with the addition of different varieties and wine styles to the program curriculum, that amount will more than double in 2002.

Overseeing production is renowned Niagara winemaker and Niagara College instructor Jim Warren, whose wines have won international acclaim. Warren works with students who form teams, with each team dedicated to producing a specific variety of wine.

The winery operates strictly on a non-profit, cost-recovery basis with all revenue from sales reinvested into the winery program.

Combined with a six-acre teaching and research vineyard, the winery provides students with practical, hands-on training that prepares them for the workplace. Official opening ceremonies for the winery are planned for Nov. 19.

The Canadian Wine Awards, founded by Wine Access magazine and presented by Air Canada, is an annual blind judging of wines grown and produced in Canada. This year, 85 wineries submitted 621 wines, a 20% increase over last year.

The judging was held in August at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria B.C. A panel of eight judges was assembled from across Canada, consisting of independent critics and writers, each with many years of experience in tasting Canadian and international wines.

Graduates of Sheridan's post-diploma/degree program in Advanced TV & Film are making their mark on a global scale.

Hot on the heels of awards picked up by two 2001 graduates at Worldfest 2002 in Houston, come Baoqi Ye and Alison Humphrey, whose student film Left Handed was screened at AFI Fest 2002 in Los Angeles last weekend.

Now in its 16th year, the American Film Institute's AFI Fest is the premier international film festival in Los Angeles, providing new and established filmmakers with a crucial avenue of exposure to the film community.

Left Handed, a 10-min. short dealing with the issue of youth and conformity, will share the bill with such notable works as Ararat (Atom Egoyan), Talk to Her (Pedro Almodovar) and Antwone Fisher (Denzel Washington).

Michel Poirier, another 2001 graduate, saw his short film, Second Hand, screened at the Tagawa International Short Film Matsuri in Japan this past summer, as well as at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax.

Poirier won the Best Director category at The Aspirations Film Festival in Waterloo in September, and his film also toured Canada with The Toronto International Film Festival Short Film Circuit.

The Advanced TV & Film Program is a one-year, post-diploma/degree program developed and instructed by professionals working in the film and television industries.

Students choose between full- and part-time delivery modes, and can produce their student projects in Super16 and 35mm motion picture formats or in digital video, including HDTV.

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