Judging Wine Competitions

by Jana Harvey on March 11, 2010

Scott and Dick Judging 003C Scott & Dick Peterson in 1987

 For over 25 years now I've been in the wine judging circuit judging at about 5 wine competitions per year, from the California State Fair to Jerry Mead's New World International Wine Compition.  Since the passing of Jerry Mead about 6 years ago, Dr. Richard Peterson has been the Chief Judge of the competition and recently I've been asked to join Jim Wallace as an Assistant Chief Judge.  As an assistant chief judge, you get involed with the innner workings of the competition, helping with who are picked as judges, how the wines are catagorized and sent to which panel of judges, etc.  The actual running of the competition is headed up by Eileen Tillery who started the Competition with Jerry Mead 20 years ago.  Over the last few years, Eileen has been passing the reins over to her daughter Jody.  Eileen and Jody, with a dedicated hardworking staff, have developed a competition that consistantly finds the best Platinum, Gold and Silver medal wines from 1,500 or more wines.  The wines are from the New World wine making regions.  These include South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America on up through all the Americas to Canada.  This is challanging for the New World International's excellent group of judges.  They will be given wines in the same category that are as diverse as an un-oaked Chardonnay from Australia to a full Malo/Lactic oaked Chardonnay from California.  Both wines are judged on their own merits for the type they are trying to portray.  In this year's competion, of 1,503 wines judged, the judges gave out 18 platinum medals, 191 gold medals and 546 silver medals.  After tasting the medal winners, I can say the judges definitely found the best wines.  From the list of awards you will be able to find and enjoy the best wines coming from the New World. To view the recent judging results go to www.NWIWC.com.  Stay tuned, the  next blog will be about the actual inner workings of sitting on a judging panel and going through approx. 100 wines a day.

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