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WineAlign stalks Canada-wide footprint

WineAlign, the Canadian wine review site, has just announced the addition of the entire contents of the 4,500-plus wines of the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch into its database.

Sometimes technology can seem a little abstract and future-oriented, and sometimes it comes directly to your rescue. How many times in the past could you have been spared the agony of standing in the aisles tortured by the question, “What is the best wine in my price range that I can buy in this store right now?” If only there was some kind of technology to help me…

That question is ripped directly from the mission statement of WineAlign, the Canadian wine review site, which has just announced the addition of the entire contents of the 4,500-plus wines of the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch into its database. So far the focus of WineAlign’s site and app has been only the LCBO in Ontario. As well as acquiring data, though, the company has hired Vancouver’s Anthony Gismondi to be its lead critic for the region.

“I have a great deal of respect for the WineAlign team already in place and am excited to be joining them as a principal critic and partner in a purely wine-focused role,” says Gismondi, already well-known as the Vancouver Sun’s wine critic. “I also look forward to assisting with taking WineAlign to a new level nationally as plans are put in place to roll it out across the country.”

The WineAlign team will be on site at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, until March 3rd at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Aside from geographic expansion, the site is making other moves to cement credibility as a go-to resource for wine drinkers. The company is creating two awards, The National Wine Awards of Canada and the World Wine Awards of Canada, and are set to hold inaugural ceremonies in June in Niagara and September in Toronto, respectively. There’s nothing quite like an awards ceremony, complemented by an exhaustive and growing database, to create a reputation for authority.

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with the competitions,” says WineAlign founder Bryan McCaw. “Our goal is to make this the definitive Canadian perspective on wine, to both domestic and international audiences. We plan to shape both competitions into a modern, highly-responsive look at wine in Canada.”

In addition to gradually rolling out across the country and conferring its newly minted authority in the form of awards, the site is pushing into multimedia, launching Season 3 of its web-based video series “So, You Think You Know Wine?” in which a panel of experts sits around a table identifying wine down to the grape and region based only on taste.

Building on the launch westward, with a formidable Ontario team already in place, the site’s next target in the coming months is Quebec, where it seems the average person walking down most streets is at least an amateur wine critic.

If nothing more comes of smart eyewear than telling you what you’re looking at while standing in a wine store, then it will all have been worthwhile.

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