Results from the 2023 Nationals – Gamay

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 Gamay winners.


Category Overview by Judge Janet Dorozynski, Ph.D., DipWSET

I am always excited to taste and judge the gamay category at the National Wine Awards of Canada — and I always find exciting wines. The quality of gamay this year was quite high and the medal haul shows a number of well-known gamay stalwarts like 13th Street and Malivoire from Ontario along with Orofino and Deep Roots from British Columbia. There were also newcomers and first-time winners like Divergence Wines from Niagara and Cooper’s Hawk from Lake Erie North Shore.

While gamay is not the most planted red grape in Canada, it does have an important place in our wine and viticultural history, especially in Ontario. It was one of the earlier planted vitis vinifera in Ontario, with records dating back to the 1970s. It was also the first varietal wine sold by Inniskillin to the LCBO after they were granted their winery licence in 1974.

Canada, again mostly in Ontario, has some of the largest vineyard area planted to gamay outside of Beaujolais and after Switzerland. Each year I am thrilled to hear that more wineries are planting and making gamay, both established and new wineries. It is a consistently early ripening variety, prone to over cropping if you do not monitor its vigour, and very cold hardy, which is becoming increasingly important due to the extreme cold temperatures Canadian wine regions have experienced as of late.

I love gamay for its juiciness, purity of fruit and styles that run the gamut from bright and light to concentrated and complex, with just enough seriousness to keep them interesting. Gamay is also extremely food friendly, owing to the grape’s tannin and acid structure, that make it easy to pair with many dishes but also great to sip on its own. This is the case with many of this year’s medal winners so grab yourself a bottle and #gogamaygo.

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