1100 wines compete in National Wine Awards of Canada


NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONTARIO – From the heart of Wine Country Ontario, 17 Canadian wine experts will blind taste and judge 1,100 wines from across the country at the first annual National Wine Awards of Canada (#NWAC13 on Twitter). Judging for the competition – which is hosted by WineAlign, Canada’s largest online wine site – is exhaustive and will take place over 5 days through June 21 in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Wines from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia will be assessed using the same 100-point system employed at WineAlign.

“The National Wine Awards of Canada brings together the largest number of Canadian wines and Canadian wine critics under one roof,” says Anthony Gismondi, co-head judge and WineAlign principal critic. “The competition presents an annual snapshot of the state of Canadian wine. The results are an invaluable guide for consumers and producers when it comes to finding out who is making the best wine in the country.”

Judging Panel

The panel of judges consists of respected Canadian wine critics, writers, educators, and judges from 6 provinces, known for their extensive experience tasting wines both on the international stage and across the country. Judging is overseen by co-head judges and WineAlign principal critics, Anthony Gismondi – Vancouver (WineAlign, Vancouver Sun) and David Lawrason – Toronto (WineAlign, Toronto Life, Ottawa Magazine).

Judges include John Szabo – Toronto Master Sommelier (WineAlign, City Bites); Margaret Swaine – Toronto (WineAlign, National Post, Gault Millau); Bill Zacharkiw – Montreal (WineAlign, Montreal Gazette); Steve Thurlow – Toronto (WineAlign, Wine for Life); Sara d’Amato – Toronto (WineAlign); Janet Dorozynski – Ottawa (WineAlign, Global Practice Lead – Canadian Wine at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada); Nadia Fournier – Montreal (Le Guide du Vin Montreal, L’actualite); Remy Charest – Quebec City (Palate Press, The Wine Case); Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson – Winnipeg (Winnipeg Free Press); DJ Kearney – Vancouver (Vancouver Magazine, Educator – Wine and Spirits Education Trust); Treve Ring (EAT Magazine); Rhys Pender MW – Cawston (Wine Plus+); Craig Piney (CBC Radio, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal); Tom Firth (Cowtown Wine, City Palate Magazine, Avenue Calgary); Gurvinder Bhatia (Edmonton Journal); and Jessica Bryans – Vancouver (Beverage Purchasing Manager for the Joey Restaurant Group).

All medal winners will be notified within a few weeks of the awards. The Rose results will be released in August as a prelude to the early September announcement of all medals and the Canadian Winery of the Year.

Those interested in the National Wine Awards of Canada can follow the judges, see their reactions to all the wines, and gain insights into the week’s activities via the #NWAC13 hashtag on Twitter and on winealign.com/blog.


Sponsors and partners in this year’s National Wine Awards of Canada include Host Partner Wine Country Ontario, an organization dedicated to promoting Ontario’s wine-growing region; Hilton Garden Inn Niagara-on-the-Lake, providers of accommodation for the judging team; ContainerWorld Forwarding Services Inc. and Borderline Systems, providers of logistics services; Fortessa Canada, Inc., providers of Schott Zwiesel stemware used during judging; and photographer Jason Dziver.