From August 21 to 23, 2020, a total of 2,519 different wines were judged at the Lincoln Family Summer Estate at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. This year’s judging was postponed three earlier times due to state pandemic mandates and was moved to this outdoor tented located in WineMaker Magazine’s hometown for safety reasons. Social distancing, mask-wearing when not evaluating wine, and dozens of other precautions were put into place to make sure your wine was judging safely and with the expert thoroughness of prior years.
This year’s competition was again the largest wine competition of its kind in the world. The 2,519 entries arrived from hobby winemakers living throughout North America in all 50 American states and 5 Canadian provinces and as far away as Australia. It continues to be the single largest and most diverse collection of hobby wines assembled annually under one roof. Over the course of three days, experienced judging panels worked through 619 flights, examining each wine using the UC-Davis 20-point wine scale evaluating appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste, and overall impression. The wines were entered in 50 different categories and included an astonishing array of varietals and wine styles. Kit wines competed alongside fresh-grape entries in this blind tasting. Entries were awarded gold, silver, bronze, and best of show medals based on the average score given by the judging panel. The Gene Spaziani Grand Champion Wine award was the top overall scoring wine across all categories. The Club of the Year was given to the club whose members won the most medals and the Retailer of the Year and U-Vint of the Year awards were given to the winemaking supply stores whose customers outperformed other similar shops. Finally, the Winemaker of the Year award was given to the individual entrant who has the highest average score across their top 5 scoring wines in the competition.
Congratulations to everyone who won a medal, and a sincere thanks to our sponsors, Competition Director Ric Quental, Events Manager Jannell Kristiansen, our judges, competition volunteers, and of course everyone who took time to enter and showed great patience as we waited until we could safely hold this judging event. We are already busy planning for the 2021 edition of this competition so get your wines ready for the Monday, March 16, 2021 entry deadline! Cheers and thanks for entering your wines!