How Wines Are Judged! 2019 Palmetto Wine Competition

Wine Competitions generally seek to award the art and science of winemaking. The Palmetto Wine Competition is no different in that regard. The goal is not to find the best wine, but to find the wine best to its style and varietal standard. In other words, wines aren’t judged against others in the competition, they are judged on their own merit against the highest standard for that particular wine style and varietal. The one and only goal of The Palmetto Wine Competition is to promote in a positive way, the twenty plus wine, mead, and cider producers of South Carolina. The Palmetto Wine Competition utilizes the twenty point American Wine Society scale. An exceptional wine will score 17.5 or more points, but it would be rare to see a wine score above nineteen points. A very good, not exceptional, wine would be scored from fifteen to seventeen points. A better than average wine would be scored at thirteen to fourteen points. Half points are accepted, but no other fractional points can be awarded. The total of the judges scores are calculated and then averaged.

Wines are scored on Appearance, Bouquet or Aroma, Taste and Texture, Aftertaste, and finally Overall Impression or Balance. Our judges implement the six S technique to evaluate the wines; See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor, and Spit! After all, they will be judging many wines during the course of the event.

Appearance: awarded up to 3 points

Appearance is judged by a wine’s clarity, color, and consistency. Specific varietals have distinct colors.

Aromas & Bouquet – awarded up to 6 points

Aromas are judged by pleasantry, distinguishability, complexity, and expressiveness.

Taste & Texture – awarded up to 6 points

Taste and texture is measured by a wines favorable flavor notes, flavor complexity, balance of sweetness and acidity, distinguishability, intensity, and mouth feel.

Aftertaste – awarded up to 3 points

Aftertaste is judged by a wines pleasantry, distinguishability, and length of it’s lingering on the taste buds.

Overall Impression – awarded up to 2 points

Overall impression is the factor where a judge will mostly use his or her discretion of a wines overall drinkability based on their knowledge and experience in evaluating wines. A few tips we provide our judges are as follows;

1. Be fragrance free.

2. Try to eat one hour prior to start. Do not judge on empty stomach.

3. Wear soft colors to minimize background color reflections for other judges.

4. Taste the wine in silence, discuss only after completion of tasting.

5. Be objective and consistent.

6. Consistently regulate swirling.

7. Don’t be prejudiced by one aspect of the wine.

8. Only unsalted snacks which are provided, no mints or gum.

9. Avoid being a middle of the road scoring judge.

10. Accept direction from Head Judge, but have confidence you are qualified to judge the wine! The producers of the wines judged at the Palmetto Wine Competition are all local family owned small business people. Their craft is their livelihood. We accept this reality with a tremendous sense of responsibility to organize a competition that is professional and fair. It is our responsibility to ensure our judges are immensely qualified, knowledgeable, and professional. We feel great about this year’s panel of judges and a genuine excitement to present this year’s medals and awards!

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