Judging the National Wine Awards of Canada 2019

I’m just on my way home from a week spent judging the National Wine Awards of Canada. This was my sixth year of judging this excellently organised competition. I started off in 2014 as an overseas judge, and it’s such a welcoming family that I’ve kept coming back. This year 260 wineries from across Canada entered over 1800 wines, making it a real snapshot of the fast-developing Canadian wine scene. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

The awards move around the country. They used to rotate between the two main regions: Niagara and the Okanagan Valley, but of late we’ve taken in Nova Scotia, and this year Prince Edward County (Ontario). Here are some pictures from the week.

Chef Jamie Kennedy who cooked for us in his home, chatting to DJ Kearney

The boss – Anthony Gismondi, co-founder of the awards – with Bill Zachirkiw

One of the Nova Scotia contingent: Heather Rankin of Obladee in Halifax

Magdalena Kaiser of Wines of Ontario

Awards co-founder David Lawrason with Sarah Goddard of WineAlign

Brad Royale about to deliver his annual ‘summing up’ poem – the master of comic verse, representing Calgary at the awards

Geoff Heinricks, pioneer wine grower of Prince Edward County

Chef Albert Ponzo who cooked for us at the Grange


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