The Great Canadian Wine Match: The BBQ Edition

TGCWM_BBQ_logo conceptsIn May 2013, we launched the first People’s Choice Wine Awards with The Great Candian Wine Match. Thousands of wine lovers from coast to coast (and around the planet) voted for their favourite Canadian wines online and via social media.

This friendly (and increasingly social ;) competition brought wine drinkers and winemakers together to celebrate the best of what we produce in this country, and garnered considerable media recognition for both nominees and winners.

We’re building on that success this year with The Great Canadian Wine Match: The BBQ Edition, pairing Canadian wines with your favourite grilled or barbecued foods, including grilled chicken, pork, seafood, beef, vegetables and dessert. Get ready now for your Canada Day barbecue!

National Television Finals

This year nominations and voting for nominees will be done like last year, and open to anyone. The regional finalists in each food category will be judged blindly by wine lovers. Following that, the winners will then be announced on CTV’s Canada AM.

We’ve Got Prizes!

We’re also turning up the heat this year with prizes, including a Grand Prize of a Summit Series Weber Grill valued at $3,000, awarded by random draw of the regional finalists. There will also be 25 runner-up prizes of Weber Grill cookbooks and BBQ utensils open to everyone who participates, and chosen by random draw.

What else is different this year?

There are six regional categories this year rather than just four: Western Canada, Niagara, Southwestern Ontario, Prince Edward County, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

How do I nominate a wine?

Go to the nomination wall for one of the six Canadian food categories: grilled chicken, pork, seafood, beef, vegetables and dessert. Simply enter the name or product code of the wine. You can find product codes here. Once your nominated wine has been approved, you’ll receive an e-mail and can start voting right away.

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Who can nominate wines?

This is the people’s choice awards for wine, so you don’t have to be a wine expert to participate. As the people’s choice awards for Canadian wines, the competition takes a grassroots, “bottoms up” approach to get us rallying behind our favourite bottles from coast to coast.

You can nominate a wine from any province or region, and not just the one in which you live. Although the focus is on Canadian wines, you don’t have to be a Canadian resident to take part, as there are people around the world who love Canadian wines.

Which wines can be nominated?

The Great Canadian Wine Match is open to all wines made from 100% Canadian fruit that are vinified and bottled in Canada by a commercial winery. The wines must be available for sale to the public via at least one of the following outlets: retail stores, online, consignment, direct mail order and/or the winery in at least one Canadian province or territory between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2015.

There are no restrictions on price, vintage, bottle size or style: red, white, rosé, sparkling, late harvest, dessert/icewine and fortified wines may be nominated.

Fruit wines and ciders are also eligible. These are wines made from fruit other than grapes such as apples, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cassis, etc.

Why should I nominate a wine?

Share your passion for Canadian wines with others by becoming a champion for one or more wines. Have fun tracking the votes for your wine daily, discover new food pairings for your wine and others, and enjoy some friendly regional rivalry with those who have nominated wines from other parts of the country.

If you’re a wine, food or lifestyle blogger, this is also a great way to get recognition for your site since your nomination will link to your profile, site and social media accounts.

As a winery or wine agency representative, why would I want my wine nominated?

Just getting your wine nominated will give you exposure on Canada’s largest wine web site, and provide a strong call to action for wine lovers to try your wine and become champions for it.

Bottle award decals will be available for all nominees and winners, indicating the food category in which the wine was featured i.e. Great Wine for Grilled Chicken.chicken 2How are the winning wines selected?

Six Canadian wines in each of the six Canadian food pairing categories will be selected at the end of the nomination voting round on June 20, 2014 at 11 am EST: one wine from Western Canada, one from Niagara, one from Southwestern Ontario, one from Prince Edward County, one from Quebec and one from Atlantic Canada, based on the most votes in each region.

So there will be a total of 36 wines in the finals, as no one wine can be a finalist in more than one category, though a wine can be nominated in multiple categories.

What’s the cost of entry?

It’s free to both to nominate and to vote for wines.

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How many times can a particular wine be nominated?

A wine can be nominated only once in each of the six categories: grilled chicken, pork, seafood, beef, vegetables and dessert. The first person to nominate the wine in a category becomes the champion for that wine in that category.

The same wine can be nominated in all six categories.

When can I nominate a wine?

You may nominate a wine anytime until June 20, 2014 at 11 am EST. It’s good to nominate your wine as early as you can to garner as many votes as possible during the voting period. However, it’s also still worth recognizing terrific wines with a nomination at any time.

How many wines may I nominate?

You can nominate one wine in each of the six Canadian food categories:grilled chicken, pork, seafood, beef, vegetables and dessert. If you would like to see a second wine nominated in a particular category, encourage a friend to nominate it.

What if the wine I want to nominate isn’t listed on your web site?

You can submit new wines to be posted on the site. Once they are approved and posted on the site, you can then nominate them for the competition. Be sure you include a picture of the bottle when you submit it.

Other than picking the wine, is there anything else I should do?

Be sure you have your picture posted on your profile. This can be a traditional head shot, a graphic or avatar.

You may also want to say why you like the wine you’ve chosen on its review page. Find the wine, then click on its name. Beside the bottle shot, click on “Add My Review.”

This doesn’t have to be a formal tasting note and score. You can simply say why you like this wine with Canadian grilled chicken, pork, seafood, beef, vegetables and dessert. However, this isn’t necessary to nominate a wine.

Wine, food and lifestyle bloggers may also want to blog about their choices to provide more background on their selections.

greens 2How do I vote for a wine?

Click on the voting button in the top right corner of the box for the wine. You can vote for wines without nominating any wines.

How many times may I vote for a wine?

You can vote for a particular wine once a day in each category. So if one wine has been nominated in all six categories, you can vote for it each day in each of those six categories.

How many wines may I vote for each day?

Until June 20, 2014 at 11 am EST, you can vote for as many wines as you like each day in each category, the only restriction being one vote for any particular wine in a category. The reason is that most of us like more than one wine with chicken or beef, so we should be able to reflect those choices and variety in our voting until we get to the finalist stage to pick the best wine in each category.

pork 2How often are the voting results updated?

Votes are calculated in real-time: as soon as you vote for a wine, the total number of votes gets updated. If your vote tips the scales and enables the wine to move up in ranking on the wall, then it will also change position after you vote.

How do I get more votes for the wine(s) I nominate?

Encourage your friends to vote for your wine by sending them the link to the voting wall and share your votes on Twitter, Facebook and Google + daily. After you vote, you’ll see a box with the social media buttons: click on them to share your support for that wine. Use the hashtag #GCWM

Why those six Canadian food categories?

To launch this competition we wanted to focus on six of the most popular Canadian food categories for July 1 barbecues. Future competitions may expand the number of categories.

How do I choose the particular Canadian food pairing in a category?

As there are many ways to prepare each of the six Canadian food categories, we’ve provided tasty, wine-friendly recipes for Canadian grilled chicken, pork, seafood, beef, vegetables and dessert. Experiment and have fun. When you make your selection, you can say what type of dish you paired with it.

May I submit a recipe?

Yes, you can submit a recipe as long as the ingredients for the six food categories are Canadian.

What about food from outside Canada?

This competition is focused exclusively on Canadian food. Future competitions may involve both international foods and wines.

How can I have more fun with this?

Organize an informal taste-off party with your friends, where each of you brings the bottle of your choice and you all try them. You can make it a potluck by making some of the suggested recipe pairings or your own.

When will the nomination results be announced?

The results of the nomination round will be announced on CTV’s Canada AM on June 27, 2014.

When do we vote for the finalists in each category?

Voting for the top six wines in each Canadian food category is from May 30, 2014 to June 20, 2014 at 11 am EST. The vote tallies for each wine in the finalist round start at zero again. The vote count gets wines into the finalist rounds, but are not considered when choosing the winners. The finalist round (as mentioned above) will be judged by wine bloggers who do not see the identity of the wines when tasting.

dessert 2When will the winners be announced?

Winners in each of the six categories will be announced June 27, 2014 on CTV’s Canada AM.

What makes this wine competition different from others?

Many traditional wine competitions are judged by experts, such as wine writers, who meet in one physical location on a specific date to taste the wines in isolation apart from food and then report their results when they finish. These play an important role in recognizing our best wines based on their technical merits.

This competition will be judged by wine drinkers themselves, online and over a 3-week period, within the context of the food pairings that these wines are usually consumed. Results will be tabulated in real-time and ongoing, with the full engagement of social media. This competition also recognizes and celebrates our best wines based on their appeal to wine drinkers themselves.

What safeguards to you have to prevent ballot stuffing?

For the wine match, we have put in place several safeguards to make it as fun and fair as possible:

First, anyone who votes has to register on the site and can only vote for any particular wine once a day. Therefore, no one can simply keep clicking on the vote button repeatedly for any wine.

Second, we block any IP address trying to register more than one e-mail address to prevent several accounts being set up by the same person for voting.

Third, we limit each person to nominating just one wine in a category.

Fourth, voting determines the top six wines in each of the categories. However, votes are not considered for choosing the winners. These were tasted without knowing their identity during the judging.

When will the next competition be held?

This competition will be held at the same time next year.

Questions or suggestions?

Got suggestions for how to make next year’s competition better? Please e-mail natdecants AT nataliemaclean DOT com


The Great Canadian Wine Match: The BBQ Edition


Natalie: Hi! I’m Natalie MacLean and welcome to the Second Annual Great Canadian Wine Match … ‘Red, White and True North Food’: The Barbeque Edition. This year we’re turning up the heat and the sizzle, we hope, and choosing our favourite Canadian wines to go with our grilled grub. We’re getting ready for Canada Day, July 1st barbeques.  What we’re going to do tonight is a little sampling of what this completion entails. It’s really meant as a bottoms up, fun way for wine lovers themselves to nominate and vote for their favourite Canadian wines, online, via social media. Tonight, I have with me 3 really passionate Canadian wine lovers from coast to coast. I’m going to let them introduce themselves and tell you a little bit about themselves, what wine they’ve picked and how it matches up with their favourite grilled grub. We’re going to start with Sara. Sara over to you


Sara: Hi everyone! My name is Sara Mantle. I live in Calgary, Alberta, also known as a beef country. I love Okanagan wines and they pair really well with beef,  like this Mission Hills Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot.


Natalie: That’s good.


Sara: The thing I love about this is that it’s just so versatile with many different cuts of beef. It’s got the body and the elegant structure enough to pair well with steak but it’s also lively and fun for a hamburger if you want to keep it casual. It’s also very economical. It’s $20 in our region up in Alberta.


Natalie: That’s a great price.


Sara: Right! You’ll love it!


Natalie: Yes! Absolutely! Is it a blend Sara, of the different vineyards? You said Five Vineyards, right?


Sara: Yes, it’s the five vineyards that Mission Hills owns. They take grapes (inaudible) to ensure the best quality possible.


Natalie: Okay, great! Well, yes. They’re really a well known producer. Good choice Sara!  Alright! So Alberta beef naturally, okay! It’s a good one!  Let’s go over to Matt here in Ottawa, Ontario. Matt, what have you got?


Matt: Hi there, Natalie! Hey guys! Tonight, I am enjoying a delicious roast with Semillon. Very nice, and it is from the Niagara Escarpment, so Beamsville Bench area. I’m a big fan of that wine making region. They’re producing some really world class wines there; whites for sure and reds also. That is great because when we can produce both colours with great intensity of flavour, colour and aromatics, it’s very special.

I would agree with Sara. I also love Okanagan wines and beef pairings but I’m going to the other end of the spectrum with barbequed veggies and maybe some fruit in there as well. I find this Semillon works so well with its tropical aromatics and flavour profile. I find it can pair great with any sort of grilled vegetables with perhaps a little bit of grilled pineapple as well and then combining these into a nice summer salad. So, its summer time just about now and a fantastic opportunity to get that barbeque going, put some healthy vegetables on there and drink some delicious Canadian white wine.


Natalie: Cheers Matt!  Yes, that Semillon is great. There are lots of options with grilled veggies such as portabella mushroom or catfish seafood. It’s a very versatile wine.


Matt: Exactly.

Natalie: Of course, we’re just doing a hop-skip-and-a-jump over here with Ontario wines, but of course there’s Prince Edward County and there’s Southwestern Ontario.


Matt: Yes!


Natalie: Those are important categories this year. We’re just giving a smattering, a taste of the types of wines and regions that people can nominate. So, good choice Matt!


Matt: Thank you!


Natalie: Adam and the East Coast … What are you representing tonight, Adam?


Adam: Yes! My name is Adam Bauer. I’m from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where I am tonight. The wine that I’ve brought with me is the Luckett Vineyards, Ortega. Luckett Vineyard is in the beautiful Gaspereau Valley in Nova Scotia. One amazing thing about our wines is that they’re known for how beautifully they pair with seafood. In the fishing capital of Canada, it’s only proper that we have a wine that works perfectly with seafood.


Natalie: That’s great!


Adam: Yes! This wine, Ortega, is a grape from Germany but it does really well in Nova Scotia. It is off dry and it has some nice acidity. You get citrus, you get some honey, and some peach. It  pairs beautifully with all seafood. I would throw a salmon fillet on the grill and add a peach and chipotle salsa. There’s some nice residual sugar here that’s going to help soothe that heat from the chipotle. Why not make it a duo and throw a lobster tail on there, too?  We like to throw on lobster tail with everything.


Natalie: Why not, Adam, why not and what time should we be there, Adam?


Adam: Exactly! Come here anytime.


Natalie: Great!  So, again we just had the sampling of the types of wines. We have 6 food categories, all grilled, from beef to chicken, pork, seafood, vegetables and of course, desserts. Grilled peaches are beautiful whether Ontario peaches or from the Annapolis Valley, Adam, or the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. There are a lot of choices but what we’re trying to do is generate some sizzle and some heat around Canadian wines in preparation for July 1st celebrations. Let’s get those pairings going and get some ideas of what to grill and what we’re going to be pouring in our backyards from coast to coast this year. So, thank you Sara, Adam and Matt for giving us some ideas to kick start this competition. Let’s raise a glass. I’m going to raise a couple of bottles. What I’ve got here are two ciders from Quebec. Quebec produces some very crisp dry white wines, ice wines and the ciders are also included this year. They are lovely with those grilled peaches and grilled fruit.  Cheers guys!  Let’s raise a glass together, coast to coast!


Matt: Cheers!


Natalie: Alright!


Sara: Cheers!


Natalie: Alright!  So, let’s kick it off and let’s have fun with this. Take care!


Matt: Thank you!


Adam: Thanks!



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