I know!! It’s crazy! Adriano called from Gatineau, Quebec to let me know that WindsorEats has been chosen as the Innovator of the Year! This is outstanding. We have worked very hard to ensure that everything we do through WindsorEats is a positive reflection of our community. Our events have always strived to be unique and different. This is a win not only for WindsorEats and the Wine Trail Rides, but for Essex County.

How amazing! I didn’t get all the details from him as he couldn’t string two sentences together, but hopefully when he returns he can fill us in on all the details! In the meantime, here’s a bit of background about the whole thing:

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has announced the winners for the 2010 National Awards for Tourism Excellence, presented by The Toronto Star and Adriano Ciotoli and Pina Ciotoli of WindsorEats.com were selected as “Deloitte Innovator of the Year Award” for their innovative Wine Trail Rides.

WindsorEats.com has been the generator of unique culinary experiences throughout Essex County. The culinary guide is known for creating events such as Eat Your City Culinary Week, Winter Bites Culinary Week and the award winning Wine Trail Rides, which created a tourism market where none existed before.

In 2008, WindsorEats created the Wine Trail Rides, a cycling experience that provided participants an opportunity to get to know the region. Each Wine Trail Ride visits 2 to 3 wineries for tastings, tours and a locally grown meal. The rides put the focus on the region by highlighting what is available locally, the importance of supporting local agriculture and the significance of our local culture and heritage. Since 2008, the Wine Trail Rides have significantly increased awareness of what the Essex County has to offer and the importance of supporting the region. In 2009, the Wine Trail Rides were selected as the Best Culinary Tourism Experience in Ontario by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance.

The National Awards for Tourism Excellence have been presented since 2003 by the TIAC to recognize the best of Canada’s tourism industry, and to reward those people, places, organizations and events that have gone above and beyond to offer a superior tourism experience to travelers in Canada.

Three finalists were named in 14 award categories, including individuals and organizations from across the country.

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada is the only national organization representing the full cross-section of Canada’s $70 Billion tourism industry, including air and passenger rail, airport authorities, local and provincial destination authorities, hotels, attractions and tour operators.

The National Awards for Tourism Excellence, presented by The Toronto Star, were presented in Gatineau, Quebec on November 2, 2010 as part of The Tourism Summit, TIAC’s annual national tourism policy conference.