The Great Canadian Wine Challenge

Kudos to Calvin's son Matt!

Kudos to Calvin’s son Matt!

So what happens when two Canadian-wine-loving guys get chatting on Twitter, lamenting the fact that #CanadianWineDay (#CdnWineDay) is only one day? Why, they end up challenging each other to go for a year without drinking (*see the rules) anything but Canadian Wine! And that’s just what happened to Calvin Hanselmann and myself last week. We started putting the details in place over the last several days and we realized that this might be worth opening up to others who want to try the Challenge, so we thought we should document the details. In the discussion we also figured we should have some prizes for anyone who can complete the Challenge, so Calvin and I have put a couple of things together and we’ll find some more during the year I am sure.

The “Rules”

  • NEW! Registration has been extended through the month of September. We’ll keep some prizes just for those who registered before the 1st of September, but we’ll use the month of September to encourage more Canadians to join the Challenge!
  • It is all about drinking great Canadian wine, but it is also about having fun along the way!
  • The duration of the Challenge is 12 calendar months, starting Sept 1, 2013
  • You may only purchase or open Canadian Wine for the duration of the Challenge. This allows for a few exceptions like international wine events that may be attended, dinner parties where the host unwittingly opens something non-Canadian, wine-related courses you may be taking where other wines may be opened, and events like i4c2014 or The Riesling Experience where it would be terrible to miss the international wines on offer. With feedback, we decided to allow for international travel exemption as well, as we know how hard it is to get Canadian wine within Canada, let alone the rest of the world!
  • You must drink wine from at least three (3) provinces during the 12 month period, and at least 12 different wines during that time.
  • Any Canadian wine counts – VQA, non-VQA, fruit wines, anything that involves fermenting fruit from this great country of ours.
  • To join in the fun, declare your intention in the comments section of this post, or email
  • Commit to a weekly update, via Twitter (#TGCWC hashtag), a blog post, or an email to the organizers ( and we will track updates from participants in our weekly update.
  • If you are on Twitter, follow @TGCWC, @TheEvilDoctorD, @UncorkOntario, and use the #TGCWC hashtag of course!
  • As this is not a contest, prizes will be awarded through some random mechanism yet to be determined (at the end of the challenge).
  • Buy some wine from your favourite wineries across Canada and get popping those corks!

Let us know if we have forgotten anything…and in case you wondered – yes, there will be T-shirts!

And if you are a winery or wine-related business and would like to donate some prizes to be awarded at the end, email us at or contact us through Twitter. We’ll be sure to praise you all over the interwebs and in a special blog post.

Happy Canadian Wine Year!

Calvin & Shawn

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107 Responses to The Great Canadian Wine Challenge

  1. Sandra R says:

    We are game to join in the fun! Have to get family members who live in BC and Alberta to bring us some bottles when they come to visit.

  2. Pingback: Would you drink only Canadian wine for a year? « Vintage Direct

  3. Ron Gold says:

    @rumjoro in! It was my New Years’ Resolution in 2011 & still going!

  4. Janic says:

    Challenge accepted! Such a great idea!

  5. Ken Burford says:

    Hi Shawn

    How can I not participate. That Rick guy needs some stiff competition.

    I won’t have to change my ways at all for this!! Providing the update will be my biggest challenge.

    Picked up some nice Nova Scotia wines a couple of weeks ago.



  6. Meredith says:

    I’m up for the challenge! @MiltonMere

  7. Gary Killops says:

    I told Shawn I didn’t think I could commit. While I drink mostly wines from Lake Erie North Shore I do find myself opening German rieslings, Greek Assyrtiko and wines from Côtes du Rhône I am going to try and put them aside for a year and give this a go!

    Does Ontario craft beer count … I like ’em too!


  8. Shelley says:

    Sounds like a fun challenge. I’m in 🙂 @shelleyhayashi

  9. Jane McCall says:

    I would if I could afford it. Unfortunately the best Canadian wine, particularly the reds are just too darned expensive

  10. It’s official CARONE is in – both Anthony and I are up to the challenge. We’ve been purchasing CDN wines for a while…now it’s time to drink them!

  11. Vegagal says:

    I’m in;)

  12. Sorry I forgot to list our tags:

  13. modernmilkmaid says:

    I’m in! Find me on twitter @modernmilkmaid
    Easy to buy NS wine, goal is to drink wine from every province!

  14. Susan Meldrum says:

    I’m looking forward to continuing to enjoy Canadian wines! I have some favorites and can’t wait to find some more. You can find me at @sameldrum. What a great idea! Love being part of something that supports the Canadian wine industry 🙂

  15. Lindsay says:

    Count me in! I’m looking forward to experiencing some new wines and enjoying old favourites too. I’m on Twitter at @CountyWineGal.

  16. Candis Harper says:

    Excited to be part of this challenge.

  17. mcshawn says:

    @Kate – welcome to the challenge! Sorry for the delay in replying…we’ve got lots of signups!

  18. mcshawn says:

    @Jen – you’re on!

  19. mcshawn says:

    Hey Sandra – just wanted to acknowledge we received your comment and registered you. Thanks!

  20. mcshawn says:

    @Ron – thanks Ron – just wanted to acknowldge your registration! Sounds like you got a great head start on us all!

  21. mcshawn says:

    Great to have you on board @Janic!

  22. mcshawn says:

    @Ken – great to have OWS leadership with us on the challenge!

  23. mcshawn says:

    @Meredith – great to have you on board!

  24. mcshawn says:

    @Gary – Woot – so glad you changed your mind and joined us! Ontario craft beer doesn’t count as wine…but I’ll raise a glass of it anytime you want!

  25. mcshawn says:

    @Shelley – welcome to the challenge!

  26. mcshawn says:

    @Sarah – was great meeting you and Anthony at Tastecamp. So glad you joined the challenge!

  27. mcshawn says:

    @vegagal – so glad you joined us! Can you email us or DM us your full name as well? Thanks!

  28. mcshawn says:

    @ModernMilkMaid – glad to have another NS challenger!

  29. mcshawn says:

    @Susan – yet another NS challenger – awesome!

  30. mcshawn says:

    @Lindsay – great to have more County representation on board!

  31. mcshawn says:

    @Candis – welcome aboard! It should be fun!

  32. I’m in.

    When you get the t-shirts, can you get some women’s baby T’s? Something with some curve hugging shape to it? I don’t want to have to wear mine as a night shirt. ????????I wanna show off my Canadian pride. Lol.

  33. Bauer Barrels is in for the Challenge!!! What an amazing way to support Canadian wineries and also find some new favourites I’m sure! Love this idea.

  34. Carole Larose says:

    I’m ready!
    Yum, yum!!

  35. Rick Bates says:

    Here’s the list of wines I opened in Week One:

    01-Sep-13 2010 Cabernet Franc Oldfield Series 35 Tinhorn Creek Winery South Okanagan BC
    02-Sep-13 2010 L’Acadie Blanc Tidal Bay 20 Avondale Sky Winery Wolfville NS
    2011 Chardonnay Reserve 25 Mission Hill Family Estate Okanagan BC
    2011 Chardonnay 15 Trius Wines Niagara-On-The-Lake ON
    2010 Cabernet Franc Oldfield Series 35 Tinhorn Creek Winery South Okanagan BC
    2008 Chard/Pinot 3036 Bubbly 35 Barnyard Wines Prince Edward County ON
    2011 Gamay Rosé Sparkling Dea’s Rose 25 Casa-Dea Estates Prince Edward County ON
    2010 Cabernet 16 Greenlane Estate Niagara Peninsula ON
    NV Strawberry-Rhubarb Spin The Bottle 20 Auk Island Winery Twillingate NL
    2010 Syrah CEV Small Lot 30 Colio Estate Lake Erie North Shore ON
    2010 Red Blend Top Bench Red 14 Peninsula Ridge Estate Beamsville ON
    04-Sep-13 2010 Pinot Noir Gravity 25 Flat Rock Cellars Jordan ON
    05-Sep-13 2011 Pinot Meunier 18 Vineland Estates Jordan ON
    2012 Pinot Meunier Circle of Friends 25 Vineland Estates Jordan ON
    06-Sep-13 2009 Cabernet Elevation 25 Vineland Estates Jordan ON
    07-Sep-13 2009 Pinot Noir Excellence 30 Stoney Ridge Jordan ON

  36. Chelsea says:

    I accept the challenge! All Canadian wine for one year!

  37. You know I am in. I live it everyday!

  38. Denis Baudin says:

    Sign me up!!

  39. Kim says:

    I’m in!! Looking forward to it!

  40. Stephanie Chiquette says:

    I wholeheartedly accept this challenge and so does my hubby!! @schiquette is all in!

  41. mcshawn says:

    Thanks Stephanie! Welcome aboard!

  42. Hugh Kruzel says:

    In fact I have been complying for years. I have been advocating local/provincial/national enthusiasm for years. Bravo for using social media to get more traction.

  43. A. Gonthier says:

    We are in! Just under the deadline, but trust me we will make up for lost time! Great challenge, although drinking great Canadian wine seems more like a reward than a challenge! @acgonthier

  44. Paul whitaker says:

    I stard my intentions in late August but did not sign up on any websites … Where do I list my intent and track my wine consumption …

  45. D.Martin says:

    Karlo Estates Winery Ontario PE county
    Day one with tonight’s dinner a nice clean white!

  46. D! Thank you so much for signing up for The Great Canadian Wine Challenge.
    We love you! xoxoxox

    Now, to get you on Twitter. ;-))

  47. Patricia Boulter says:

    I’m from St. John’s, Newfoundland and I am up for this challenge. I was referred to this site by Karlo Estates Winery in Prince Edward County, ON.

  48. Yeah! So glad you’re in, Patricia!

    Looking forward to your posts on facebook.
    You can also choose to get on Twitter and follow with the hashtag #TGCWC

  49. I win. I have drunk only Canadian wine for the past year including wine from Niagara, Prince Edward County, Navan, Ontario, New Brunswick and every single winery in Nova Scotia. Currently in France for the beginning of the contest for this year and they don’t sell Canadian wines in Languedoc but I have 50 bottles of Canadian wine in my wine cellar to get me through the winter.

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