Judging Wine

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

judging wine, an activity that most wine drinkers undertake every time they open a new bottle, but also a serious business on which the commercial future of some wine producers may to a certain extent depend. For details of domestic, amateur wine judging, see tasting.

The judging process at a more professional level can vary from a gathering of a few friends, a few bottles, and much hot air, to a competition in which wines have been carefully categorized by wine type, style, and possibly price and are tasted blind, in ideal conditions, without any consultation until a possible final discussion of controversial wines. Back-up bottles are always needed in case of corked bottles, and to verify whether any other fault is confined to a single bottle. scoring systems vary but typically involve awarding a specific allocation of points for various different aspects such as appearance, nose, palate, perhaps typicality, and overall quality. medals and trophies are often awarded as a result. Wine shows, often part of much broader annual agricultural shows, are particularly important in Australia, where to be invited to act as a judge, or even associate judge, is a great honour. Wine judges usually wear white coats, work in silence, and may be expected to evaluate as many as 200 wines a day.