(Aug. 19, 3:35 p.m.; UPDATED Aug. 21, 2:43 p.m.)

Mastronardi Produce’s new Champagne variety is the toast of the Tomato Capitol.

At the “Hottest Tomato” competition at the annual Leamington Tomato Festival in Leamington, Ontario, on Aug. 15-17, the cocktail variety won “Best Overall Tomato.”

The contest was part of a fundraiser for REACH Intl., Leamington, a charity that helps to provide health, education and housing assistance for underserved communities in Canada and other parts of the world.

Chris Veillon, marketing manager for Kingsville, Ontario-based Mastronardi Produce Ltd., which markets the Sunset brand, said the tomato was introduced to the market in May and has been sold out since.

“We will be upping our acreage significantly,” Veillon said.

The tomato, which is currently being grown in Canada, will be making the transition to Mexican operations for fall production soon.

Veillon said Mastronardi Produce plans to offer the tomato year-round nationwide.

Mastronardi Produce executive vice president Paul Mastronardi found the variety last year and was impressed with its high sugar content and intense flavor. Mastronardi Produce has been looking for a follow-up to its successful Splendido and Campari grape and cocktail tomatoes.

“He does half a dozen trips around the world and has been looking for the past five years to find something that was very high brix and full of flavor with a unique size,” Veillon said.

Champagne tomatoes are available on the vine in a 6-ounce sleeve with a recommended retail price of $2.99.

They also are available in a bulk 3-pound container.

Award categories and winners for the “Hottest Tomato” competition included:

Best overall: Champagne Cocktail tomato, Mastronardi Produce.

People’s Choice Award: Bella Sweets strawberry tomato, CNK Farms Specialty Tomato

Best Hothouse Specialty: Champagne Cocktail Tomato, Mastronardi Produce

Best Hothouse Roma: Pure Hothouse Foods Inc., Leamington.

Best Hothouse Beefsteak: Mastronardi Produce

Best Hothouse Cluster: Erie Shores Growers Ltd.

Champagne tomato wins top award in Ontario
Kingsville, Ontario-based Mastronardi Produce garnered "The Best Hothouse Specialty Tomato" award and "The Overall Best Hothouse Tomato" award for its Champagne variety cocktail tomato.

Courtesy Mastronardi Produce Ltd.