- Challenge Rules
- Organizing Committee
- About Us
- Donald Ziraldo Award
- Registration (Closed)
With the dual mandate of encouraging future talent and highlighting Ontario's professionals on the world stage, The Renaissance Project's Wine Tasting ChallengeTM was conceived and initiated in 2004 and was an immediate success. It is an annual event that highlights Canada's brightest talent and brings together the world's best to compete at the highest level of competition, while sharing in the spirit and fellowship of the vine. As the competition grew in notoriety and breadth, Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute was appointed as the organizing, presenting and auditing body in 2005.
Now with the largest prize purse of it's kind in the world (upwards of $100,000 including cash, trips, stemware and scholarships), this competition is the most unique and largest wine tasting competition in the world.
Directed, operated and sponsored by many prestigious institutions and corporations, this competition is open to all professional sommeliers, food and wine industry professionals, students and all wine enthusiasts who wish to challenge themselves. Most importantly, the Wine Tasting Challenge is all about “giving back” celebrating excellence in front line wine service and supporting the future excellence in the Toronto/Ontario food and beverage industry.
You may enter as a professional or as an amateur. Depending on your formal wine education and wine related career you will be juried into either category. It should be noted that it is the professional category that garners the Grand Award and the most notoriety. If you feel you’ve “got the chops” go for the professional category.
There are no entry fees and everyone is welcome. The event is operated by volunteers and all awards and competition expenses (venue, food, wines, etc.) are provided courtesy of our very valued sponsors. This event is all about the healthy spirit of competition. With that noble intent, The Renaissance Project/CCOVI does not keep nor publish any individual scores. There is every reason to enter. Only the winners and runner-ups for each of the categories are announced.
With the wines/spirits presented ‘double blind’ (purchased and at the competition, pre-poured out of sight by “bonded” representatives from CCOVI at Brock University) the “challenge” is to correctly identify the grape varietal, country, region of origin and vintage from a diverse range of world wines. The professionals try to identify five wines while the amateurs attempt to identify three wines. There are two supplementary rounds where (1) three VQA wines are presented double blind and (2) three spirits are presented double blind.
Please go to Competitions - Prize List for the complete listing of prizes - the number of prizes have increased so more people can share in the amazing purse of prizes offered by our generous sponsors.
Prizes will be awarded as follows:
- Professional: Grand Award Winner, 2nd and 3rd Place
- Amateur: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place
- CCOVI-VQA Award: 1st Place
- Spirits Round Award: 1st Place
Prizes are not awarded where the competitor has not met the 50% criteria.
Awards are also given out at the annual Awards Presentation in the following categories:
Donald Ziraldo Award - awarded for innovation, development and inspiration of the food and wine industry.
2010 - Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier, Southbrook Vineyards
2011 - Jamie Kennedy
Distinguished Sponsor Award - given in gratitude for the long standing support and generosity on a sponsor.
2010 - Moray Tawse, Tawse Winery
2011 - Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
The Competition and Awards Gourmet Luncheon
The competition takes place in November and the Awards Presentation Gourmet Luncheon (date to be determined).
The Renaissance Group and CCOVI have designed the competition to be a personal challenge to the participants. Once you have completed the challenge you are invited to an adjoining “fellowship of food” to celebrate and enjoy the “post game” and possibly compare notes. Again, there is no cost for this great day.
After the event:
- The competition wines are listed on the website within 48 hours of the completion of the Challenge.
- Competitors will be emailed their Overall Test Result using your 7-digit random I.D. number. Only you will know your overall result.
- Winners will be announced through our Media Sponsors.
- Winners will be listed on the WTC website January 31st.
This event has become one of the most noted wine tasting competitions in North America.
- Registration site will open by the first of October..
- November: (Monday) Competition Day
- November (within 48 hours of the competition completion): Challenge wines are posted here on the website at www.winetastingchallenge.com
- January: Winners are officially notified and posted on our website
- January: Auditor’s report is published on our website and distributed
- January: Winners are announced formally for the first time through our Media Sponsors.
- March/April: Awards Gourmet Luncheon is held where wine media are present, individual awards and prizes are presented, and information/media releases on the Wine Tasting Challenge, our supporters and our winners is distributed