Results from the 2023 Nationals – Cider and Ice Cider

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 Cider and Ice Cider winners.

Cider and Ice Cider

Category Overview by Judge Sara d’Amato

From dry to sweet, sparkling and still, spiced, flavoured, iced, experimental and fruit-infused (and one Perry), ciders presented themselves in all styles at this year’s National Wine Awards of Canada. In total, 34 ciders were entered into competition this year — with one gold in the sparkling sweet category for Annapolis Cider Company’s Earl Blue, which is also the 2023 Best Cider of the Year, which incorporates Earl Grey tea and blueberry juice into its off-dry sparkling blend.

We continue to welcome more cider into this largely wine-focused competition, recognizing that that craft hard cideries are a growing category across Canada, with strong roots in the eastern provinces such as Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, among others. We hope to see more entries. British Columbia and Ontario are also making a splash and having taken half the medals awarded this year. Although large, mass-produced cider brands still dominate the Canadian market, craft cideries are burgeoning and the demand is substantial. This is not just a gluten-free, beer-alternative trend — serious cider drinkers are relishing the choices and breadth of styles now available nationwide.

Whether it be high-acid apples and dessert varieties (Spartan, McIntosh, Empire, Paula Red, Gala Honeycrisp, Cortland, Empire, Vista Bella and Northern Spy) or heirloom varieties (Ribston, Golden Russet, Cox Orange Pippin, Ellis Bitter, Bulmer’s Norman, Dabinetts and Yarlington Mills), ciders have the potential to showcase varietal distinctiveness and a great degree of complexity — more so than most wine-only drinkers appreciate. As with wine, in the sparkling category, carbon-dioxide injected, Charmat- and traditional-method examples exist, with textural reference points that would be familiar to wine lovers.

All this to say that judging this category has opened our eyes and our palates to the diversity available in Canada.

NWAC 2023 Sponsors: