Initially all judging is by region/area/variety/style/type/vintage/age etc. Wines and spirits that win awards may then go forward to the appropriate trophy category, where they compete at national or international level with the best. Tasting’s are conducted under strict conditions as laid down in the IWSC Rules.
Samples are presented in flights of numbered glasses to avoid the possibility of judges being influenced by the shape of a bottle. Judges are provided with a score sheet and given the basic parameters of the class being assessed. Samples are assessed quietly; and without comment; marks are recorded and collected by the panel chairman who may then open discussions in respect of judges comments/scores.
Judges are prohibited from entering the preparation area and cellar before or during Competition judging sessions. When judges are unable to reach a majority decision flights will be referred to another panel. An auditor is available at each session to handle any queries. All results remain confidential until officially released.
Provided the required minimum score is reached gold, silver and bronze awards are given in each tasting category or flight. Products with the highest mark in their respective category are awarded "Outstanding" and are re-tasted for national and international trophies.
Why do we need 4 bottles?
The IWSC requests that all entrants submit four bottles per entry for both Wines & Spirits. The first bottle is for the inital round of judging, the second is for chemical analysis, the third is for a second round of judging if the product goes forward for a Trophy and the final bottle is for contingency in case a bottle is out of condition or damaged in transit (in this case the IWSC provides the entrant a second chance rather than giving the initial product an unfairly judged low score).
Marks are out of 100 and awards are made using the point system below: