New Orleans has never been described or considered to be a “city just like a lot of other cities.” It’s the truth: there just is no other place like New Orleans. 

It’s those differences that make this place truly unique in all the world. And when professional wine industry leaders and hospitality executives decided to stage a world-class international wine competition in The Crescent City, it had to meet the New Orleans-standard for excellence and an expression of respect for great wines when they are placed alongside this city’s internationally recognized culinary standards. 

The New Orleans International Wine Awards is an authentic expression and identification of the wine industry, but it is also a celebration of what is best and good in a joyous festival as only New Orleans can express. 

The wine evaluation is serious business and the consumer tasting is pure joy.

The Awards, now in its second year, set a very high standard last year for evaluation and reward for wines from around the globe. Wines entered are placed into classes which describe their varietal components, their points of origin, their pricing, and their styles. No wine will be classified and compared to other wines that are not comparable to the entry. 

Besides assuring the fairness of the evaluations and the competition among the wines, The New Orleans International Wine Awards has taken great care in selecting competent, experienced and knowledgeable professional judges. These men and women were chosen from among restaurateurs, winemakers, sommeliers, wine journalists, and wine industry personnel. 

Judges: Many of the judges are people who participate in multiple wine competitions each year and are based in such wine-producing states of California. Oregon, Washington, Michigan and New York. Other judges are long-time professionals involved in the New Orleans hospitality industry, every day working both in the front and the back of world-renowned restaurants and bars. And the diversity of the judges’ experiences is also represented by writers and journalists who report on the state of the beverage industry to tens of thousands of followers and readers.  

Consumer Tasting: A key aspect of The New Orleans Wine Awards is an evening, devoted to a consumer tasting. The consumer tasting will take place the evening of November 7. Several venues of historic significance are being considered and an announcement will be made before the end of July. Attracting hundreds of wine lovers, mostly from New Orleans, this event completes the circle of wine evaluation and appreciation. 

Last year, many winemakers chose to come to the city and the event to represent their wines and take advantage of a face-to-face opportunity to tell the story of the wine to vitally interested consumers. 

What separates the New Orleans consumer from other similar events in other venues is that the wines being poured in New Orleans have all been entered for medal consideration in the Competition, and wineries are not required to furnish additional bottles of wines. The 3-bottles required for entry are quite enough for the professional evaluations by the judges, and the remaining bottles are used for the consumer tasting event. Many wine competitions give the excess wines to the volunteer staff. New Orleans exposes a winery’s product to consumers who are interested in tasting and, hopefully, purchasing at another moment. 

Entry Fee for wineries to enter their wines is $70 per label and 3 bottles of the wine, which suffices for the professional evaluations and allows consumers to sample a diverse collection of quality wines. Award winning wines, at all levels, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, receive a commemorative medallion appropriate to their award levels. 

No other wine competition, of which we are aware, treats the winery’s products with such respect and care, nor goes to such extraordinary lengths to place the wine into the hands of discerning consumers at all levels. 

Because this is New Orleans, the culinary aspect of the staging of the wine competition and the consumer tasting is not overlooked. What takes place is not devoid of fine cuisine which pairs very well with the wines on hand. 

The judging takes place on November 5 – 6 in temperature-controlled conditions, assuring that the wines are able to show their best qualities to the judges. When the wines are received, they are placed immediately in quiet, dark temperature-controlled and bonded surroundings, allowing them to settle-down after their journeys.

The New Orleans International Wine Awards is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation and funds raised through entry fees, corporate sponsorships, and the consumer event entry tickets  are donated to another not-for-profit corporation, WYES-TV, Channel 12, the Public Television Broadcasting Station in New Orleans.

Sponsors for The New Orleans International Wine Awards and Consumer Tasting include purveyors to the New Orleans restaurant industry, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate/ (New Orleans’ daily newspaper and the most visited website in Louisiana)   

Images of the 2018 New Orleans International Wine Awards Tasting