The VQA Promoters Award is given out every year by Brock University “to acknowledge those individuals who celebrate the Ontario VQA wine industry with unselfish enthusiasm, constructive input, and unsolicited promotion.” I am thrilled to report that Shawn McCormick, blogger at Uncork Ontario, was this year’s winner in the Promoter-at-Large category. The award was given out this past weekend during Cuvée in Niagara at the Experts Panel.
For people in the very passionate online Ontario wine community, this was no surprise. Shawn is much more than just a blogger – he has created an amazing Ontario winery app,Tweets regularly about Ontario wine, launched and co-hosts #ONWineChat on Twitter (Wednesdays at 10pm ET) and is one of the two masterminds behind The Great Canadian Wine Challenge. And he has done all of this because promoting Ontario and Canadian wine is his passion. He manages to do it all while working full time in the non-wine world and taking evening wine classes – he makes me feel like a slacker every time we chat!
One of the many things that makes Shawn so special and so very deserving of this honour is that he’s such an incredible booster of the Ontario wine community. When I became interested in wine, he was one of the first people it was suggested I get in touch with. I reached out to him on Twitter and he was so welcoming. He, along with great Ontario wine lovers like Paul Dearborn, Rick Bates, Rick VanSickle and many others, invited me into their world with open arms and open bottles. When I started blogging about wine – mainly Ontario wines – Shawn could have told me to back off his territory. Instead, he re-tweeted my links, sent me lists of places I should consider visiting and writing about and talked me up to the rest of the Ontario wine community. He embraces the idea that we can all work together to spread the word about the wines we love.
I wanted to share with everyone who reads this blog just what a great person and VQA promoter Shawn truly is. Ontario wine is lucky to have such a staunch advocate and community builder and I am lucky to have him as a mentor and friend.