JUDGING AND PROCEDURES
With a track-record of 45 years of experience and the support of the leaders of the wine and spirit industries, the IWSC staunchly upholds its original judging principles. It is this uncompromising commitment to these principles which sets the Competition apart.
All judges must attend an introduction and briefing and may also be asked to attend a trial judging day before being permitted to sit on a panel.
Detailed chemical analysis helps refine judging to further assess a product’s future stability and legal compliance. Every single wine is assessed on its own merits within the context of its class.
The Technical and Judging Committee gives independent assurance to the IWSC Board of the quality, integrity, accuracy and impartiality of the assessment of products entered in the competition each year.
The IWSC is the only competition of its kind that conducts full 'double' blind tasting (glasses are pre-poured in a separate room) by panels selected from over 300 fully qualified industry judges followed by an extensive chemical analysis. Products are assessed by region/area; variety/style/type, and vintage/age.
Brett Fleming, European Tigerfish Brands Ltd (UK) and Competition Chair Judge
"The IWSC judging process is structured so that it can never be compromised. The judging panels consist of individuals who are very knowledgeable in the areas they are evaluating. They use the Olympic principle of awarding medals so that only the highest quality entries are awarded, and they do not give medals away. In categories where the products do not score highly enough, no gold medals or trophies are given. For example, last year, entries were up by over 30%, but fewer golds were awarded than in previous years, and no Pinot Noir trophy was awarded because they felt that the entries just weren't good enough."
Guardians of Quality
The Technical and Judging Committee gives independent assurance to the IWSC Board of the quality, integrity, accuracy and impartiality of the assessment of products entered in the Competition each year. Members provide expertise in all the Competition's product categories and disciplines and must be independent of the Competition, as is the chair, to avoid the potential for conflicts of interest.
Members of the Technical and Judging Committee
Technical Advisors to the Committee:
Jim Beveridge (Diageo)
Anthony Foster (Bonhote Foster)
Richard Paterson (Master Blender, Whyte & Mackay)
Arthur Nägele (Spirituosenakademie)
Geoff Taylor (Corkwise)
Dave Hughes (Freelance Consultant)
Sally Easton MW (Educator and Consultant)
David Wrigley MW, director of the WSET and technical director of the IWSC board
"The IWSC boasts the most highly qualified group of international judges of any wine and spirit competition in the world. We are inundated with applications from people who want to judge for the Competition, and have to turn people away every year. We make sure that our 40 MWs and our prominent trade judges from all over the world are balanced by knowledgeable consumer judges, who ensure that products are evaluated with consumer expectations in mind. All judges, including our MWs, must go through an induction process and a trial judging day before they are allowed to officially judge on a panel, and performance is constantly reviewed. We are not trying to be 'Big Brother', but we owe it to participating producers and the consumer to be as accurate and consistent as possible in our evaluations."