BCWA Judging Process

owfs logo BC Wine Award logo


The entire competition is “blind” and comprises three phases: the initial blind tasting; the TOP 50 round; and the final round where the BC Wine of the Year is decided.

Throughout the first two days of highly controlled blind tastings, judges taste every wine entry to decide if it is worthy of a second tasting. Judges do not receive any information on the producer, ensuring each wine is judged fairly, equally, and without bias. For the initial round, the judges are split into 5 panels (3 judges per panel). Odd numbers are used because it’s easier to get a decision by a simple majority.

On the third day, judges evaluate each wine on an individual basis—not compared to other entries in a flight. During this stage, judges average the scores to determine which entries are the TOP 50. The Top scoring wine from all judges on the panel will move forward to the Wine of the Year Award.

In the initial round, each wine is judged on its own merits including colour, clarity, aroma, bouquet, taste, aftertaste, and overall quality—rather than as part of a ranking. In other words, 10 wines will not be ranked 1 to 10, but rather recommended for second round based on average score. Sparkling wines and white wines are tasted first, followed by rosé and red, and finally dessert wines. When there are different levels of sweetness, with Riesling for example, the wines are tasted from dry to sweet, because tasting the sweeter wines first would make the dry wines taste bitter. Palate cleansers include lots of water (still or sparkling) and unsalted crackers.

At the end of the third day, the top wines advance to the final round to determine the Top 50. Should there be a tie for the Number 1 spot, the judges deliberate together to determine the BC Wine of the Year.


Wine of the Year: An exceptional wine with fine personality that stands out among its peers.

The Top 50: An excellent wine with great personality and is a classic example of its style and variety

An accomplished wine with considerable personality, character and complexity


  • Oldest and largest British Columbia Wine Competition
  • The competition is open to all licensed British Columbia wineries and recognizes a wide variety of wine styles.
  • The judging process conforms to high standards which ensure competitive integrity, well-established wine judges, a fully double-blind judging process and proper time allotted for discussion and consensus.
  • All wineries that enter receive two complimentary entries.
  • The winners will be announced on June 7th, 2024 at the BC Wine Awards Industry Reception at Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, Penticton.
  • Following the awards ceremony, results will be provided to the Top 50 in advance of the Awards reception the following week with an embargo on public announcement to media. The Top 50 will go public on Friday June 7 at 7:30 PM. And then posted on www.thewinefestivals.com, and distributed electronically through various media channels to our extensive consumer, trade and media database.
  • All VQA Wine Stores and over 600 LRS locations will receive the results.
  • BC Top 50 stickers will be designed for the winners to purchase for display if they so choose.
  • BC Wine Awards – Top 50 digital emblem will be made available electronically immediately to all winners for their own online promotion.
  • Results will be published digitally across key wine platforms including wine and food media and select newspapers.
  • It also encourages healthy competition among winemakers, fostering continuous innovation and improvement in the industry.


When can I register?
Registrations are from Friday, February 23, 2024 until Wednesday, May 1, 2024, 11:59PM. To register your wines please visit our registration page.

Who can enter wines into the BCWA?
All wineries licensed in BC can enter wines into the BCWA. Wines must be produced using 100% BC grown fruit.

How and where are my wines received?
Wines will be received at the ContainerWorld Kelowna between Monday May 6th, 2024 and Monday, May 20th, 2024. Wines can be either dropped off directly or couriered to the location. If alternate arrangements need to be made, you can do so by emailing [email protected] directly.

Why do you require multiple bottles?
We want to ensure that if a wine is faulty, we can serve a fresh sample to our judges to avoid any of wines being unfairly judged.

Do you only accept grape wines?
No. We accept grape wines, fruit wines, and meads.

How do you ensure confidentiality?
The wines are stored in a windowless room separate from the judges, that may only be entered by the staff and the team of back-room sommeliers. The wines are expertly poured by sommeliers so that the judges never see a bottle. Additionally, the judges, staff and back-room sommelier team must all sign a Confidentiality Agreement prior to the judging.

How many wines are judged?
It varies year to year; however, in 2023 there were over 500 wine entries into the BCWA Judging competition.

How many categories are there?
In 2024 there will be 28 categories. If a category has ample entries it may be split into price ranges for additional awards.

How and when will the winners be announced?
Winners will be announced at the in-person BC Wine Awards Industry Reception at Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Friday, June 7th 2024 at 7:00PM. The TOP 50 will be notified by May 31st and asked to keep confidential and be prepared to pour the wines at the Grand Tasting following the Industry reception. OWFS member wineries that have entered the competition will have access to 2 complimentary tickets to the Awards Ceremony.

How do I receive my medal/trophy and digital if I win?
The Top 50 will be announced at the Industry Reception; along with the Wine of the Year. All TOP 50 recipients will have access to their digital emblem immediately after the ceremony.

Penticton hosting competition to determine BC Top 50 wines
May 27 2024
Penticton hosting competition to determine BC Top 50 wines

The start of the 45th Annual Okanagan Spring Wine Festival is coming up in Penticton, with some format change-ups this year. On Friday, June 7,...

More Details

Countdown to the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival
May 2 2024
Countdown to the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival

It’s still a month away but spring feels like it’s been whipping by, so why not start planning now for the spring version of the...

More Details

'Taste and Sip' your way through spring with Okanagan Wine Festivals
April 29 2024
'Taste and Sip' your way through spring with Okanagan Wine Festivals

Several events are planned throughout the Okanagan between June 2-23. Okanagan Spring Wine Festivals are back. The festival pops the cork on...

More Details

TASTE and SIPS BC Wine Country at the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival
April 9 2024
TASTE and SIPS BC Wine Country at the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival

(KELOWNA, BC) The Okanagan Wine Festivals returns this June with three weeks in wine country you don’t want to miss. There is no better time...

More Details


Meet our Members

The Okanagan Wine Festival Society is made up of a number of Okanagan wineries and tourism related businesses. Every member is recognized as an outstanding service or product supplier in their related industry.

Sponsors Photos For Homepage

Our great sponsors

  • sponsor
  • sponsor
  • sponsor