Judging Process



Ensuring equal consideration

Throughout three days of highly controlled blind tastings, our experienced judging panels taste every wine to decide if it is medal-worthy. Judges do not receive any information on producer, ensuring each wine is judged fairly, equally, and without bias.


Judging each entry on its own merit

While tasting, judges evaluate each wine on an individual basis—not compared to other entries in the flight. During this stage, judges determine which entries are worthy of a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal. Entries that receive a Gold medal from all judges on a panel earn a Double Gold medal.


Recognizing the best of the best

On the final day of the Competition, select Double Gold wines advance to the Sweepstakes round. Here, all Competition judges deliberate to determine the Best of Class and Best in Show Premium Award winners.

What does each medal mean?

Double Gold

Awarded to the very few entries that receive a Gold medal rating by all members of the judging panel; these are among the finest wines in the world.


Exceptional wine that is near the pinnacle of achievement in its category; these products set the standard for all other wines of its type.


Outstanding wine that shows refinement, finesse, and complexity; these winners are among the best examples of its particular category.


Commercially sound wine that is modestly attractive, and free from significant flaws; these winners are among the better examples it its category.


  • Best of Class: The best example of each wine type
  • Best in Show (the Competition’s highest honors): Chosen from the Best of Class winners, these awards highlight the best wine in each of these four categories: Best in Show White, Best in Show Red, Best in Show Sparkling, and Best in Show Dessert
  • André Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year: Named for the legendary winemaker, our Winemaker of the Year award is bestowed on the winemaking team with the most impressive portfolio of wine entries.
  • The Tasting Panel Magazine Winery of the Year: Recognizes the single winery earning the most points, measured by the number and level of awards won.
  • Portfolio of the Year: Honors an outstanding portfolio of quality and diverse wine.