A new year symbolizes a new beginning. A time to reflect on the past, with your eyes looking forward. A time to enter wines from the latest vintage into competitions, to hopefully accumulate awards and accolades to carry the winery and vintner through the coming year, to dazzle and impress the wine-consuming public, and to validate the hard work and commitment of months gone by.
Let the new year of wine competitions and wine judging begin! First out of the gate is the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SFCWC). Wineries have been sending in entires since the end of 2012, to be pitted against each other in the first battle of the bottles! What started as a modest municipal fair wine tasting competition in 1983, the Cloverdale Citrus Fair Wine Competition, has evolved and grown to become the worlds' largest wine competition of American wines, The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, since entering into a sponsorship agreement in 2000.
In 2010, there were just shy of five thousand entries to be swirled, sniffed, sipped, and judged. Judged categories are broken down by varietals, and then split even further into price points, and also include categories for dessert wines, ports, and other unique wines. A panel of the industries top judges and other industry professionals will spend the week of January eighth through eleventh sampling through this years thousands of wines, and on February sixteenth, the public can reap the rewards of their hard work, at the Fort Mason public tasting event.
Turning the tables on the wine competition world is the 5th Annual Consumer Wine Awards. In an industry that caters to a diverse palette of consumers with equally diverse palates, the Consumer Wine Awards is all about letting the end user be the judge.
Initially conceived as a fundraising event by the Lodi-Tokay Rotary Club, it, too, has evolved and grown, and is now the largest consumer evaluated wine competition in the world. To become a consumer evaluator, simply go to the website - www.consumerwineawards.com - and take a short sensory evaluation survey. At the end of the survey, click on the box indicating your interest in joining the panel of "judges."
This event will take place in Lodi at the Lodi Grape Festival grounds on the weekend of March 23 and 24, coinciding with the Lodi Spring Wine Show. The judging itself is conducting in much the same way as a professionally judged competition, with the tasters sampling wines grouped by varietal and tasting blind. Only at the after-party will any evaluator know which wines they actually tasted.
Many more wine competitions are taking place nationwide, and even worldwide, but 2013 starts of with two very local and diverse competitons. Keep reading for results of each of them, as well as myriad other competiton results throughout the year.