Results from the 2023 Nationals – Riesling

Announcing the Results from the 2023 National Wine Awards of Canada

The 22nd running of the National Wine Awards of Canada wrapped up on June 28 in Penticton. Category results will be rolling out throughout the rest of July, with the final Platinum, Best Performing Small Winery, and Winery of the Year announcements coming at the end of this month. We hope you will stay tuned to follow the results and become engaged in anticipating the final results.

We’ve asked a few of our judges to summarize their impressions of each category. Today we are pleased to present the Riesling winners.

The most awarded category because everything happens for a Riesling

Category Overview by Judge Michael Godel

The National Wine Awards of Canada’s mega-frame computer is responsible for taking judges’ data and pumping out results. It does not lie and no matter how anyone feels about the idea of picking one grape variety as Canada’s signature, well the facts are the facts. Riesling is Canada’s finest.

Consider the numbers. Five Platinum medals represent 26 percent of the total, 24 Golds amounts to 9 percent and 91 medals accounts for 7.5 percent of all medals awarded. Of the 119 riesling entries, 76 percent are medallists, a quarter of them at Platinum or Gold. The numbers for chardonnay and cabernet franc pale in comparison and only syrah fares as well. That said, due to recent extreme climate events the Okanagan Valley’s syrah vines suffered greatly and future competitions will surely see a decline in entries. Empathy aside, riesling numbers speak for themselves and are not merely impressive. They are commanding.

The breakdown is 51 medals for Ontario and 41 from British Columbia. Five Platinum wines, four from Ontario and all five crafted by well-established, recognizable riesling experts. Even the Gold medals are awarded to a who’s who of known riesling producers. Look into the Silver and Bronze levels and this is where the up and comers show their mettle, which can only speak to a varietal future where more and more Canadian wineries will see that keeping riesling on their minds will ensure the grape remains at the top where it belongs. The challenge is to translate this success into sales, to educate consumers on the merits of a grape so well suited to Canadian climates and soils.

Everything happens for a riesling here in Canada because the grape survives, thrives and wins. Riesling can be light, bright and refreshing but it can also be complex, fascinating and long-lived. Considering how hard it can be to sell there is little doubt that winemakers are unwavering in their commitment towards making great wines. The proof is in the results laid plain to see at this year’s NWACs.

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