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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the background of the National Wine Awards of Canada?

Now in its 22nd year, The Awards were founded in 2001 by Anthony Gismondi and David Lawrason. The original awards moniker was the Canadian Wine Awards presented by Wine Access Magazine – until it ceased publication early in 2013. When WineAlign took over, in 2013, the name was changed to The National Wine Awards of Canada. With Anthony Gismondi and David Lawrason still at the helm, the spirit was kept alive. Many of the judges, drawn from across the country, have a long history with CWAs, as well, but since that time, almost half the panel consists of new, highly qualified tasters coming from across the country. An apprentice training program for young prospective judges keeps the new blood flowing each year. Each year the number of entries has grown in step with the wine industry itself, and the NWACs have become Canada’s largest and most respected judging of Canadian wines.

2.  How much does it cost to enter a wine?

April 1 – 30: $135/wine + GST
May 1 – 31: $140/wine + GST
June 1 – 9 : $145/wine + GST

3.  Where can I get help in registering wines?

If you need assistance registering your wines, please email [email protected].

4.  Why are my registered wines still appearing in red even after I shipped them?

Please don’t worry if the wines you registered, paid for and shipped are still appearing in red text on the registration site. They will only turn green a day or two before judging starts when we physically unpack the wines at the judging venue and physically place them in their correct flight in the backroom.

5. What is a ‘Virtual’ Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal?

With 550,000 unique visitors from Canada a year WineAlign is in a unique position to present and re-present medal-winning wines every time someone looks it up on-line. We know that NWAC stickers are effective on bottles inside retail wine stores, so why not present the same information alongside our reviews by using virtual medal stickers on WineAlign. All medal winning wines have their NWAC status displayed alongside their notes each time they appear in a WineAlign search result. That is a lot of on-going coverage. Below are examples showing how virtual medal wines would be displayed on WineAlign.

On the wine’s page:


In the Find Wine feature:



6. What can you win at NWAC?

All wines entered according to the regulations will be tasted and assessed in a first or preliminary round. Judges will use the 100-point system used by our critics at WineAlign. Based on its score, a wine will be eligible to move to a second and possibly third round to determine the competition’s best wines. Based on achieving the following scores, your wines will be awarded one of the following medals.

PLATINUM (Canada’s Best Wines) – The top 1% scoring wines of the competition.

GOLD medals = 91+ points

SILVER medals = 89 – 90 points

BRONZE medals = 88 – 87 points


To be eligible for the ‘Winery of the Year’ award, a winery must enter a minimum of five wines. The top five scoring entries (not including Icewine) will be used to determine the ‘Winery of the Year.’ Using a formula that includes your scores and a multiplier that assesses the true value of each medal you win, including the platinum designation, each winery is assigned a competition performance score. The winery with the highest score will be declared the WineAlign Canadian Winery of the Year.


The ‘Best Performing Small Winery’ award will be given to the top-scoring winery producing 10,000 cases of wine a year or less. The top five scoring entries (not including Icewine) will be used to determine the ‘Best Performing Small Winery of the Year.’ The same formula that we use to determine Winery of the Year will determine this award. If you are eligible for this award, please ensure you update your winery’s annual production amount when you register your wines.


Due to the increasing numbers of ciders entered into the awards, we have added a Best Cider of the Year award which will be given out to the highest scoring cider at the awards (not including ice cider).


The Best Icewine of the Year award will be given to the highest scoring Icewine at the awards.


While there can be only one Winery of the Year, we will release our list of Canada’s top 25 wineries of the year, including their top-rated wines.using the same method as Winery of the Year.

7.  Can I enter the same wine I entered last year?

As long as the wine is meets the guidelines provided in the Rules for Entry, then it can be entered again.

Please go to Rules for Entry for more information on wine qualifications.

8. Which category should my wine compete in?

At WineAlign, we are highly focused on the consumer – that means what is on the front label goes a long way in determining which category you should enter your wine. If you are entering any of the major single varietals such as chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, riesling, cabernet franc, etc., choose the corresponding varietal name from the drop-down list. If you cannot find your single varietal listed, place your entry under White Single Varietals – All Others or Red Single Varietals – All Others, and we will ensure it is placed in a proper category before it is tasted.

If your wine is a blend, be it red or white, again look for that designation White Blends or Red Blends in the drop-down. Just be sure to enter the wine’s grape makeup and the associated percentages for each blend. We also break down other specialty categories based on entries, so simply enter your wines under Rosé or Sparkling or Icewine, Fruit Wine and Late Harvest, and we will do the rest for you.

NWAC Categories for 2023

(as seen in the drop down list):

•               Cabernet Franc
•               Cabernet Sauvignon
•               Chardonnay
•               Cider – Iced
•               Cider – Sparkling – Dry
•               Cider – Sparkling – Sweet
•               Cider – spiced/flavoured/experimental
•               Cider – Still – Dry
•               Cider – Still – Sweet
•               Cider – with other fruit including Perry
•               Fortified
•               Fruit Wine
•               Fruit Wine – Sparkling
•               Gamay
•               Gewürztraminer
•               Grenache/Garnacha
•               Icewine
•               Late Harvest > 19 gms/ litre RS
•               Malbec
•               Mead & Other Non-Fruit Based Wines
•               Merlot
•               Pinot Blanc
•               Pinot Gris/Grigio
•               Pinot Noir
•               Red Blends
•               Red Single Varietals – All Others
•               Riesling
•               Rosé – All Varieties
•               Sauvignon Blanc
•               Skin fermented whites/Orange wines
•               Sparkling – All Types
•               Syrah/Shiraz
•               Tempranillo
•               Tidal Bay
•               Viognier
•               White Blends
•               White Single Varietals – All Others
•               Zinfandel

Questions or comments?  Contact us:  [email protected]

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