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The Results of the World Wine Awards of Canada 2013

Value by any other measure wouldn’t be half as good!

by Anthony Gismondi

WineAlign is proud to announce the results of the inaugural World Wine Awards of Canada  (the Worlds).  But we’ve got a problem. We have the best list of value wines in the country, but the ‘value’ word is so over used it is almost meaningless in the modern retail world.

That is unless you consider who is saying it and why.

In another life the majority of the WineAlign team joined me at Wine Access magazine to look for the best value wines under $25 in the country and the annual issue was a big hit with readers. Upon the demise of Wine Access we wanted to make sure the awards moved forward and without missing a beat, or really any of judges, the WineAlign World Wine Awards were launched in Toronto late this summer.

WWAC 2013 Top 25 Value WinesThere have been a few changes. We expanded to include wines up to $50 hoping to get a look at some of the key wines you see in restaurants and that might be candidates for the cellar. A $50 dollar limit may seem high to some of you, unless you live in BC, but in the end we think it has added a bit of extra gloss to the results.

To be clear, I want to share our methodology of tasting, since it has become fashionable to bash the results of wine awards and label them as cash grabs so let’s start with the cash.

Our entry fees covered the costs of flying most of our judges in from across Canada, putting them up in a hotel room for a week, paying them to work for the week and feeding them too. It also paid the enormous fees required to rent three ballrooms in a Toronto hotel for eight days, storing wines for weeks, shipping it to and fro and well, I could go on.

WWAC 2013 Category ChampionThen there is the work to prepare hundreds of flights of wine, keep track of all the entries and results and well suffice to say if there was any profit, and I haven’t heard yet that there is, it wouldn’t begin to cover the true cost of getting all results you are about to read.

As for the methodology:

The wines were grouped in flights by price and variety and or style and the results were sliced and diced on the strength of numbers. All the large categories were tasted by price: Under $15, $15 to $25; and $25 to $50. The largest categories yielded Category Champions and Judges’ Choice selections regardless of price, in effect the best of the best. We also declared the best wine from each price category.

WWAC 2013 Judges' ChoiceCategories with smaller entry numbers were considered for Judges’ Choice and best of price categories where it made sense. Each of the wines recognized were judged at least twice if not three times by a minimum eight judges and often by as many as twelve or sixteen.

We have also put together some top value wines by country and perhaps the most valuable list of all the very best under $15.

The wines were tasted using our regular 100 point system and no wine that was given an award scored lower than 87 points in fact most were at 88 points and above. I mention that because you won’t see any points on the lists you open but rather just the names of the winners. NOTE that every wine is ranked by score to two decimal points so while we believe they all represent great value they are placed on the list in order of merit and the first ranked wine scored the highest.

The strength of WineAlign is that you will be able to look up each wine on-line and see what our critics think about it individually. The wine’s collective accomplishments will appear in the form of a WWAC medallion beside its regular wine note and scores out of 100. It doesn’t get any more transparent than that.

WWAC 2013 Best of CountryLet’s face it. When you put 19 highly opinionated and widely experienced judges in the same room as 1000 wines selling for less than $50 you have the potential to come up with amazing results that speak to value. You could say it is arbitrary, or subject to individual will or judgment without restriction. It could be contingent solely upon one’s discretion, but you know what, it isn’t. After a week of scrutiny, tasting under similar conditions you can see the best wines working their way to the top.

We know we are onto something because a lot of people are trying to copy, or let’s be polite, emulate or search for value but they won’t come close thanks to a national peculiarity.

Here in Canada all but one provincial government operates a liquor monopoly. If they have any redeeming value, it is that there has to be an illusion of fairness when it comes to listing wines from around the world so a lot of wines, from a lot of countries, are listed; especially below $50. It’s a national phenomenon that doesn’t occur in many other countries.

WineAlign 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada Results

Anthony Gismondi
Co-head Judge, World Wine Awards of Canada
Principle Critic and Partner, WineAlign

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WineAlign Announces Two New Wine Awards in Canada

WineAlign Launches Two New Wine Competitions in Canada

TORONTO/VANCOUVER – February 25, 2013 – WineAlign, Canada’s largest and most popular online wine site, today announced the launch of two new wine competitions. To recognize the best in Canadian wine, WineAlign will host the National Wine Awards of Canada “The Nationals” and invite Canadian wine producers to compete annually to determine who is making the best wine in the country. To complement the domestic awards, the World Wine Awards of Canada “The Worlds” competition will be open to wines sold in Canada, with emphasis placed on wines offering outstanding value.

The “Nationals” will be held from June 16 – 22, 2013 in Niagara, Ontario and will open for entries on April 1, 2013. The “Worlds” will be judged from September 8 – 14, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario and will open for entries on July 1, 2013. Results of the “Nationals” and the “Worlds” will be released on WineAlign.com, which had close to one million unique visitors in 2012. With upcoming expansions to British Columbia and Quebec, the WineAlign audience is expected to grow significantly in the months ahead.

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with the competitions,” says WineAlign founder Bryan McCaw. “Our goal is to make this the definitive Canadian perspective on wine, to both domestic and international audiences. We plan to shape both competitions into a modern, highly-responsive look at wine in Canada.”

Wines will be tasted blind by a team of top wine critics from across the country, including head judge Anthony Gismondi (WineAlign, Vancouver Sun), David Lawrason (WineAlign, Toronto Life), John Szabo Master Sommelier (WineAlign), Margaret Swaine (WineAlign, National Post), Rod Phillips (WineAlign, Ottawa Citizen), Bill Zacharkiw (Montreal Gazette), Steve Thurlow (WineAlign), Sara d’Amato (WineAlign), Janet Dorozynski (WineAlign), Nadia Fournier (Le Guide du Vin Montreal), Rémy Charest (wine journalist in Quebec City), Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson (Winnipeg Free Press), Craig Pinhey (New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, The Coast), DJ Kearney (wine educator in Vancouver), Treve Ring (wine journalist in Victoria), Rhys Pender (Master of Wine, B.C.) and Gurvinder Bhatia (Edmonton Journal).

For more information on the awards or entries please contact awards@WineAlign.com.

About WineAlign

WineAlign is a free community-based service for reviewing, sharing and discovering wine. It was launched in December 2008 in collaboration with several top wine critics to create a resource for consumers to find the best wines at the LCBO. WineAlign, which is growing rapidly with close to 1M unique annual visitors, answers the question: What wine do I buy? It combines reviews from top-critics and community members to create an objective resource to help users find great wine. For wine lovers outside of Ontario, Canada, WineAlign provides the most comprehensive wine resource, including reviews of the latest wines and vintages from some of the country’s top sommeliers and wine critics. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook/WineAlign or on Twitter @WineAlign.

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WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008