An Inside Look at Competition

Most winemakers begin by wanting to make an affordable wine through their own efforts. Once they succeed, they focus more on perfecting the finished product. Their next question becomes, “Am I making really good wine? Or lousy wine that I like but no one else would?” It is at this point that we join clubs and discuss our wines and techniques. But the same question crops up in modified form: “Are we the club members making really good wine? Or lousy wine that we like but no one else would?” Thus enters the competition. Now, competitions come in several flavors. At one end is the juried competition, primarily directed at commercial wines in which the judges are expected to come to consensus on a final mark on the basis of discussion (and Lord help the wine that falls below 90). At the other end are the club competitions in which Old Fred and Sarah express that they don’t know much about wine, but this here one is sour. There is, however, a middle ground. Properly constructed competitions at the state
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