Last year there were 1,500 wines in the competition, but there are 200 more this year entered by 242 wineries.
Twenty-two talented wine tasters were in Greenwich from seven Canadian provinces as well as London, England to pick the winners from among 1700 wines and ciders made in Canada.
Seventeen pallets of wine arrived at the Old Orchard Inn and had to be sorted and lined up by a group of dedicated volunteers from across the country, said Anthony Gismondi, who is co-head judge.
“This is the largest wine awards in Canadian history,” he added.
There are six tables of judges tasting and sniffing. This is the first year that cider is being judged in the competition, which continues until June 19.
“There has been great deal of energy emanating from the Nova Scotia wine industry in recent years” says WineAlign VP David Lawrason, who also is co-head of the program. “It is much like the energy within the sparkling wines and Tidal Bay whites that are now defining the region.”
The judges, he said were eager to experience the energy in the area’s wine industry and to sample some Atlantic hospitality.”
“Canadians wines have been making inroads at competitions around the world of late but those accomplishments pale when compare to the head-to-head, peer tastings that are being conducted in Wolfville this week,” said Gismondi.
“Nova Scotia hosted these awards back in 2011, and while that is only a short number of years ago, our industry has developed greatly,” said Gillian Mainguy, executive director of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia.
“We are particularly pleased that the awards fall on the heels of the Atlantic Canada Wine Symposium. Together the events present a fantastic opportunity to showcase what we do best in Nova Scotia,” she added.
The wines were all served blind (producer, origin, and price were not revealed) but identified and organized into flights by grape variety or style. The top medalists were tasted in multiple rounds by several different judges.
The full results will be published on WineAlign, Canada’s largest wine review and editorial website, in July. The location for the nationals alternates between east and west each year, Lawrason said.
He and Gismondi, who reside in Toronto and Vancouver respectively, founded WineAlign and are co-chief judges.