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Food & Drink

GoNOLA Guide to First Annual New Orleans International Wine Awards

The inaugural wine competition takes places between November 6-8, 2018.

Enjoy wine tastings at the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

New Orleans is a city best known for offering plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking – from nearly weekly festivals to a number of bars and restaurants that’s probably disproportionate to the number of residents in Orleans parish. As home to some of the best restaurants and venues in the world, New Orleans social circles revolve around food and drink.

It is this reputation, coupled with the city’s rich, international influence, that appropriately positions New Orleans as home to the New Orleans International Wine Awards. NOIWA is a new competition managed by, the organization that oversees The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

Photo: Paul Broussard

“We are proud of our city’s hospitality and culinary reputation,” said Tim McNally, one of three New Orleanians responsible for founding NOIWA. “This city has always been a wine-drinking center. While vinifying wine is an art which cannot be done in this area very well, understanding the product and consuming is just as important to the winemaking industry. New Orleans is an important market and we felt that staging such an event helps to define that truth.”

The French 75 bar is adjacent to Arnaud’s. Photo: Paul Broussard

In its inaugural year, the New Orleans International Wine Awards will bring together about a dozen judges – notable media and professionals from the food and beverage industry from around the country – to evaluate and asses wines in a professional competition between November 6-8, 2018. These wines have been submitted from brands and vineyards around the world to be recognized by the panel of wine authorities, and receive their coveted seal of approval. Organizers of NOIWA are expecting to receive about 500 submissions.

The two-day competition will culminate with a grand tasting, an event open to the public featuring all the competing wines. Many of the wines will be New Orleans International Wine Award winners by the tasting, so guests will be the first to sample the newly appointed wines.

Galatoire’s is one of the four restaurants participating in the International Wine Awards Grand Tasting (Photo: Paul Broussard)

The grand tasting will be held on Thursday, November 8 from 4:30 -7:30 p.m. Ticket holders will sample several wines at different events in four of New Orleans’s Grand Dames – Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Galatoire’s, and Antoine’s. With all events happening simultaneously, guests can stroll into each event at their leisure, with only a short walk about the length of a ‘go-drink’ in between each venue.

Restaurants will provide light snacks that pair well with the wines. Wine-knowledgeable professionals and representatives from the venues will be present at each site to answer any questions; however, there will be no lectures or speakers. This will allow attendees to move freely between events at any pace and direction they wish.

It is rare to find an event that allows you to hit up four of the city’s top restaurants in one night, only to be topped with some crisp, fall weather and go cups. Tickets for the consumer tasting are limited, and can be purchased for $80 online at the NOIWA website.

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