If you are a home winemaker and you haven’t ever submitted your wine to a contest, consider doing it. I’d like to point out some advantages. If you are thin-skinned (think Pinot Noir), however maybe it’s not for you.
There was a signature event that started me on entering the occasional competition and it was, as luck would have it, the 2006 WineMaker Magazine International Amateur Wine Competition. I entered a 2004 Sangiovese that I had made from a combination of fresh grapes and juice. How I managed to keep from drinking it, I don’t recall. Wine near me is an attractive hazard and some vintages never get to be well-aged. This wine won a gold medal in its class. I was gone.
After that, I entered at least one competition a year and acquired both awards and lessons in humility. I consider it an essential part of my education.
The following year, I entered a local competition and at the last minute, got called away to visit a sick friend out of town. When I got back, the chairman of the event called and said he had an award for me. I was thrilled. “Which category did I win?” I asked. “All of them,” he said. That was not quite true, but a Chardonnay I submitted has won first place in the formal judging, first place in the audience judging and tied with a red wine for Best of Show based on points....