View Full Version : What are Wine Shows and Why are they so Important?

Mick Pacholli
13th July 2013, 03:11 PM
Tonight we're off to the Royal Queensland Wine Show trophy presentation dinner - the first in the 2012 calendar of national Australian wine shows. So we thought we'd take a look at what wine shows are all about and why they're important to Australian winemakers.*Wine shows have a long history in Australia and have grown through a remarkable evolution. Australian winemakers, probably more than any other national collection of winemakers, put a lot of reliance on the wine show system and there is certainly a lot of professional interest during the wine show season each year.Wine shows have also been an important part of the evolution of Wolf Blass wines. The Wolf Blass Black Label was born when a 1973 Wolf Blass Cabernet Shiraz from Langhorne Creek won the Jimmy Watson Trophy at the 1974 Melbourne Wine Show. The 1974 Black Label then won the 1975 Jimmy Watson Trophy and then the 1975 Black Label won the 1976 Jimmy Watson Trophy. Black Label then went on to win a fourth Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1999 for the 1998 vintage. This is a feat that has never been repeated by any other wine producer. And Wolf made the most of the trophy wins by using the peer review as third party recognition of the quality of his wines.
http://www.tooraktimes.com.au/~/media/Wolf Blass/Images/From Our Winery Blog/Jimmy Watsons.ashxWine shows continue to be an important quality tool for Wolf Blass because they do provide an independent forum of peer review and we do recognise the awards as an indicator of quality for consumers who can be swamped for choice.What is a Wine Show?A wine show is simply an organised forum that allows for the structured tasting of a collection of wines, under consistent conditions, that gives an objective assessment of quality based on an agreed scoring system.Why do we have wine shows?The primary reasons for the existence of wine shows are twofold. The first, and most important, reason is that wine shows should work to ‘improve the breed’. That is, the consistent and objective appraisal should work to improve winemakers' understanding and attitude to absolute quality and so help to reduce the number of quality faults found in bottled wines.The second purpose is the use of show results as a marketing and promotional tool. The rationale is very simple – a wine with a medal on it is better than a wine without a medal. And where competing wines do have medals then silver is better than bronze, gold is better than silver and a trophy is the best.Wine shows can also be used to promote wine growing regions and consequently we now have regional wine shows, capital city wine shows and a quasi-national wine show in the form of the Canberra National Wine Show.How does the show system work?Each wine show has its own schedule which is a set of regulations and program of classes. The regulations set out the rules with regard to wine sample presentation e.g. if wines need to be commercially bottled, minimum productions quantities to be eligible, if samples need to carry commercial labels or not. The program of classes defines the categories of wines to be judged so that the objective assessment is of like wines. The different categories include red, white, sparkling and fortified further broken down into vintage and varietal categories.Wine producers are then invited to submit entries based on the show schedule. Exhibits are then sent to the wine show organisers for the official tasting. In most shows the tasting of each class is done by an expert panel which ideally consists of impartial judges from the industry including winemakers and wine merchants. The class of wines is set up in flights where a blind tasting then occurs.Scoring in Australia is done to a 20 point score with the following breakdown:-****** A score out of 3 for colour and appearance-****** A score out of 7 for aromatic quality- * * A score out of 10 for the flavour and structure of the wine.At the end of each flight, or at the end of the class tasting, the judges compare their scores and discuss the merits of each wine and may haggle over final scores. The individual scores are then summed up or summed and averaged to get a final score. Medals are then awarded depending on the final score such that:* *Gold = 18.5 to 20 points* *Silver = 17 to 18.4 points* *Bronze = 15.5 to 16.9 pointsOnce all classes have been tasted, scoring completed and medals awarded then the best wine(s) from each class may go through a series of trophy tastings to award various trophies such as best variety, best overall red, white, sparkling and fortified, working through to the best wine of show.The final assessment is, of course, the inevitable discussions and arguments that ensue about the awarded, and non-awarded, wines. But this discussion tends to be more subjective than objective.So wish us luck - we're off to dinner!

More... (http://www.wolfblasswines.com/en/From-Our-Winery/Our-Winemakers-Blog/2012/07/Australian-Wine-Shows.aspx)