Ever wondered what those Gold, Silver and Bronze medals on your wine bottle really mean? We take you inside the wine show judging criteria to reveal what makes a wine a winner!
Often when shopping for wine, you’ll see bottles spangled with shiny medals on their labels. The idea is to communicate that you’re picking a winner – but what do those medals actually mean? Are they an accurate assessment of the quality of the wine in your hand?
As a matter of fact, it’s a significant achievement for a wine to win a Gold medal at a wine show. It’s a statement that that wine is indeed an example of quality winemaking. And the criteria against which those wines are earned are indeed significant.
At wine shows, wines are tasted blind, which means that all factors that could lead to bias (like the label and price) are hidden. Vintage and variety or varieties are the only information identified – the rest is up to the expertise of the judging panel’s palate.
To achieve a Gold medal score, the wine must appeal to the entire judging panel, meaning Gold is only awarded if there is unanimous consensus among judges as to the wine’s quality. The judging process is rigorous, involving multiple re-tastings and much discussion.
Judges work to ensure only the very best wines are awarded Gold. It’s not always the most expensive wines that win, either. The wines that are awarded Gold are held up as benchmarks for other winemakers to aspire to. Medals might be awarded for how well they express the varietal or regional character, or the value they represent at their price point.
When it comes to assessing wines, the Australian wine show circuit uses the 20-point system, awarding points in the following fashion: 3 for appearance, 7 for the nose and 10 for the palate. Scores are then added, and medals awarded for Bronze, Silver, and Gold as follows:
If winning a medal is a big deal, to win a Trophy is an even bigger feat. When a wine is awarded a Trophy at a wine show, it means it is literally the very best of all of the Gold medal-winners in its class or category – the best of the best.