How is Wine Judged?
Exhibits in all Australian Wine Shows are judged on a comparative basis - all the entries are judged at the same time, on a point score with a maximum of 20 points. On the judging sheet this is divided into
• 3 points for colour
• 7 points for nose.
• 10 points for palate
Medals are awarded on the following basis:
• 18.5-20 points - Gold Medal
• 17.0-18.4 points - Silver Medal
• 15.5-16.9 points - Bronze Medal
Trophies are awarded to the highest scoring wines in each trophy category eg “Best Red Wine on Show”. If scores are equal at that point, the initial set of judges re-tastes the wine and scores it again.
The 100 Point System
A quite controversial numerical rating system currently in use is that of American Wine Critic, Robert Parker. His "100-point" system was first devised in 1978. Wine Spectator adopted Parker's model in 1985 and other reviewers have since followed suit. These scales usually rank wines from 50 to 100 points (not 1-100), on colour and appearance, aroma and bouquet, flavour and finish, and overall quality level or potential.
In Australia, James Halliday works on a similar basis, although on a 75-100 point scale.
A typical breakdown of a 100 point scale system could be as follows;
• 95-100 = Classic: a great wine
• 90-94 = Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
• 85-89 = Very good: a wine with special qualities
• 80-84 = Good: a solid, well-made wine
• 75-79 = Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
(The 100 point scale is now used in wine markets around the world; usually by investors/consumers wanting to reduce their risk of purchase. Detractors of this system say that it places too much emphasis on ‘fashion wines’ that cater for the palates of high profile critics “achieve a big score and sell lots of wine quick!”