Craft & Cork >> Winemaking

July 10, 2015 | By

A passionate winemaker takes “BEST OF SHOW”

The passion and pride craft winemakers feel when they present their own vintages to the world was demonstrated once again at the 2015 WineMaker Magazine’s Amateur Winemaker Competition. And this year’s recipient for Best in Show in the Kit/Concentrate category, Wally Hemming, definitely exudes passion for his craft. Wally won this coveted prize with his RQ Spanish Monastrell Tempranillo from RJS Craft Winemaking.

Here’s a charming side note to Wally’s winemaking winner; he entered this particular bottle on a whim – never expecting to win top prize! Just before the competition deadline he discovered theBlog2_InText (1) last bottle of this fine vintage in his cellar and decided to enter it because “it had a nice age to it”.  Unfortunately for anyone who’d like to sample Wally’s winning wine, it was his last bottle. He regrets not having another bottle from that batch to enjoy – as do we!

Meet Wally Hemming, this year’s Best in Show winner in the Kit/Concentrate category

Our winner Wally hails from Headingley, Manitoba and has been making wine at his home for over 35 years. Before he had all the equipment we’re lucky enough to use today, he even used to make wine in tin cans.

“My fascination with craft winemaking started with a simple gift … a homemade bottle of wine that a friend brought when visiting my cottage,” says Wally, who at the time considered himself a wine lover. He was a bit hesitant to drink it at first, sharing a common misconception that the quality of the homemade wine would be lacking. However, when he uncorked that bottle, he was delighted to discover how good the flavour and quality actually was … and he was a convert. He’s been making his own wine ever since.

Blog2_InText (2)Most craft winemakers will tell you it is the quality of the wine kit that enables them to make wine comparable to the popular commercial brands. Wally wholeheartedly agrees. When you discuss winemaking with Wally it’s clear that the secret to what makes his wine so great (beyond the quality wine kits he uses) is that he simply loves making wine.

He describes his hobby as a “labour of love” and takes immense joy in sharing his vintages with friends and family. Seeing the enjoyment on their faces and hearing their praises as they sip a recently uncorked bottle makes it all worthwhile.

Wally is a regular at Hop & Vine, an RJS Craft Winemaking Academy store in Winnipeg, where he buys a selection of RJS Craft Winemaking wine kits and winemaking supplies. “It’s stories like Wally’s that make craft winemaking such a gratifying business”, says owner Willie McNair. And events like the WineMaker’s Magazine Annual Wine Competition showcase the pride and enthusiasm of craft winemakers. RJS and the team at Hop & Vine are thrilled to congratulate Wally as this year’s Best of Show winner, and we wish future success for all the craft winemakers in next year’s competition.


Wally Hemming’s Top Tips for Craft Winemakers:

  • Always keep your equipment clean
  • Follow good cellaring practices
  • Have patience! (allow your wine to age properly)




WineMaker magazine has granted the re-use of its registered trademark and copyright-protected results of the WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition.

For more information on the competition, please visit

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