Sep 30, 2011
Wine Shows are an opportunity to compare and contrast wines with similar attributes.
Wine shows are also a good gauge for winemakers to be able benchmark their wines
against those from their peers, and for customers to help with a wine
choice when deciding to purchase.
However, wine shows are not perfect – it is possible for a wine to be awarded a gold medal at one show and not receive a medal at another show. Scoring wine is a subjective process and not all wines will be scored the same by every judge. Wine show organisers endeavour to select judges for their shows that reflect a range of fields from wine writers, sales representatives, winemakers, as well as students.
Wines are grouped into a range of classes including variety, age, style, region and volume.
Wine stewards pour the wines to ensure the identity of the wine producer is unknown, and wines are tasted and scored independently to create a level playing field for all entries. This is called blind tasting.
Dick Buller wine judging: circa 1960
Each class is assessed by a panel of judges, where the scores are given out of 20 by the following system:
• 3 points - appearance (colour vibrancy, colour intensity, clarity, viscosity etc).
• 7 points - bouquet/aroma (Aroma intensity, fruit, oak, freshness/developments, complexity etc).
• 10 points - palate (Acid, tannin, sweetness, oak, concentration, complexity, mouthfeel etc)
Awards are determined by taking the average of the judges scores out of a possible 60 points. The medal awarded refers to the score of the wine, and NOT as a first second and third placing. The medal scores are listed below:
• Bronze - 46.5 to 50.9 points
• Silver - 51.0 to 55.4 points
• Gold - 55.5 to 60.0 points
A bronze medal indicates that an entry is a faultless, commercially acceptable wine.
Silver medals are awarded to entries of excellent quality, whilst gold medals are awarded to entries of outstanding quality.
Approximately 35% of entries will be awarded a medal, and somewhere around 5% of entries will be gold medal wines. However, it is not a requirement that a medal is awarded in any class. If the judges consider there are no gold medal quality wines, or silver or bronze for that matter, they will not award any for that class.
The reverse is true if the class has many good wines, where there may be several golds, silvers or bronzes awarded.
Trophies are awarded to top gold medal entries from their respective classes. Not every class is in the running for a trophy, and some trophies may encompass a range of classes, for example the Jimmy Watson Trophy at the Melbourne Wine Show is awarded to the best 1-2 year old dry red wine. Each wine show has its own format and Trophy awards.
Often trophies will not be awarded because judges may not be able to find a gold medal wine for the specific trophy category.
Some of the medals and trophies awarded to our Fine Old Muscat