WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada 2014
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Reason #5 - Quality of the Judging Process

“Canadian wineries enter many competitions around the world each year but none compare to WineAlign’s Nationals in terms of the level of competition and none can boast the competency of our panel of judges.” said chief judge and competition architect Anthony Gismondi.  "Both David (Lawrason) and I have worked extremely hard to hone our judges into the sharpest panels in the country. Many have cut their wine teeth judging in other shows around the world. Over the years we have worked with scores of judges looking for just the right combination of experience, tasting ability and the most important asset, the ability to work within a group, to make sure the best wines get moved forward."

Co-head Judges - Anthony and David

There are subtle changes to our panel each year but for the most part the judges are comprised of some of Canada’s leading wine writers, journalists, sommeliers, buyers and industry professionals. The competition also seeks out new and emerging talent in the industry to be part of the panel. This blend of experience and enthusiasm, brought by judges from many regions across Canada, ensures a comprehensive view of the wine world’s most current state.

This year special guest judge and international wine writer Jamie Goode, will also be on hand to help us choose Canada’s top wines.

All competition wines are blind-tasted and judged in categories according to varietal or style, not by region, using the same 100-point system as used by WineAlign. All bottles are kept in separate temperature-controlled rooms and are visible to the back room staff but never seen by the judges. This is in addition to several checks throughout the system from entry to physically pouring the wine into a tasting glass that prevents any wine from ending up in the wrong flight. We also use top quality restaurant style glasses, not the tiny ISO wine glasses, giving the mostly young wines some room to breathe and show off.

We keep our wine flights small at an average of eight or nine wines and the judges only taste about 80 wines each day. There are no 50-wine flights at The Nationals and there are no 200-wine days for our judges. We keep our people fresh and engaged for the six hours they work each day.

Our awards are not a weekend affair.  Winning wines must survive multiple elimination rounds meaning they have been tasted by several panels over several days.  Wines that come out at the top will receive either Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze medals.  Only the top 1% will receive a Platinum medal. Even our Bronze medal is something to be proud of.  Bronze winners must have a score of at least 87%, which is high compared to other competitions.

Important Notice:

Shipping to the Eastern consolidation point closes on May 27th - only two weeks away!  

WineAlign is growing - click here to see how many people are on our site right now.

NWAC 2013 Judges

Reason #1 - Sustained Publicity
Reason #2 - Winners Sell More Wine
Reason #3 - Jamie Goode Joins the Judging Team
Reason #4 - Get Your Wines Reviewed & Scored by Canada's Top Critics

Find out more about the National Wine Awards of Canada.   

Meet the Judges:

Marc Chapleau

Marc is a well-known wine writer from Quebec and is a principal critic on WineAlign’s Quebec website, Chacun son vin. His extensive travels to wine-growing regions all over the world, his appearances at wine-tasting events as wine expert and master of ceremonies, and his hundreds of published wine columns, occasionally humorous but always passionate, have made him an important figure on the Canadian wine scene. He is the Wine Consultant for SAQ’s Cellier Magazine and a frequent contributor to SAQ’s Wine and Spirits Online Blog. Click here to read a Q & A with Marc (in both French and English).

Sara d'Amato

Sara is a Toronto-based wine consultant, sommelier, wine critic and principal partner with WineAlign. She has worked in cellars both in Niagara and in France, formerly as Sommelier of Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto and you may now find her at the Platinum Club of the Air Canada Centre. Tune into daytime Toronto with Val Cole on Rogers Cable 10 or 103.9 Proud FM with Mike Chalut in Toronto where she is a regular guest. Sara is a member of the Wine Writer’s Circle of Canada and continues to participate in judging wine competitions across the country. Currently, Sara sits on the board of the Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.  Click here to read a Q & A with Sara.

Mark Davidson

British Columbia
Mark has over 30 years of experience in the hotel and restaurant and wine business.  As a Department Head and instructor with the International Sommelier Guild he was instrumental in the on-going development of the curriculum and has taught classes in numerous cities across North America. Mark is an annual judge at Dallas Morning Star/Texsom and Sunset Magazine wine competitions. In addition he developed a wine education and restaurant etiquette course for Simon Fraser University Global Asset and Wealth Management MBA program and is currently studying for the theory section of the Master of Wine having passed the rigorous tasting examination in 2012. Mark is currently Global Education Director for Wine Australia.  Click here to read a Q & A with Mark.
National Wine Awards
of Canada 2014
June 21st-25th
Penticton, BC

WineAlign, Canada’s largest and most popular online wine site, is now accepting entries for the 2014 National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC) “The Nationals”.

”The goal of ‘The Nationals’ is to bring together the best of Canadian wines and Canadian wine critics under one roof,” says Anthony Gismondi, co-head judge and a WineAlign principal critic. “Each year, and this is the 14th, the competition presents a snapshot in time 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.” Anthony recently wrote an insightful column on the National Wine Awards and their 14 year history. 
Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting the top 5 reasons you should enter your wines in this exciting event. 

Important NWAC Links

National Wine Awards Home Page
National Wine Awards Rules for Entry
National Wine Awards User Guide

Important NWAC Dates

May 27: Wine delivery to the Eastern consolidation point closes

June 9: Online registration closes

June 16: Wine delivery to the Western consolidation point closes


Introducing the Judges

The Nationals assembles Canada’s leading wine commentators and critics as judges, creating a truly national perspective on wine.

We will profile them over the next few weeks. 

Mar Chapleau

Sara d'Amato

Mark Davidson

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