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The first-ever USA Wine Ratings competition, which took place in San Francisco on July 23-24, featured high-profile judges evaluating wines from around the world on the basis of quality, value and packaging. Gold, Silver and Bronze winners from the competition will be announced on September 5.
The USA Wine Ratings competition, hosted by Beverage Trade Network, is the first competition of its kind in the United States. Instead of evaluating wines solely on the basis of traditional characteristics such as taste, flavour, aroma and winemaking technique, the USA Wine Ratings competition brings a more nuanced approach to judging wines based on their overall drinkability for the consumer.
Wines were judged on how well they will appeal to consumers and specific demographic groups. For that reason, factors such as the pricing of a wine relative to its peers and its overall branding and marketing also played a role in scoring the wines.
Wines must score highly across all three parameters – Quality, Value and Packaging – in order to get a medal in the competition. All wines are evaluate on a 100-point scale, in which Quality is judged out of 50 points, Value is judged out of 25 points, and Packaging is judged out of 25 points. Gold Medal winners are those that score 90 or higher points out of 100; Silver Medal winners are those that score 80-89 points out of 100, and Bronze Medal winners are those that score 70-79 points out of 100.
At the judging session, judges tasted and scored wines on a blind basis before seeing bottles and marking them for on-shelf appeal as well as value for money. This enabled them to come up with an overall score that reflects their overall drinkability.
“What really made this year’s competition such a success was the very high quality of the judging panel,” said Sid Patel, CEO and Founder of Beverage Trade Network. “Our goal was to create a judging panel comprised entirely of top-level wine buyers with direct commercial buying responsibility. These are exactly the types of judges who know what consumers are looking for, and what will sell well in retail stores or in restaurants.”
The list of judges at the 2018 USA Wine Ratings competition includes the following:
1. Nichole Simpson, Senior Wine Buyer, Walmart Stores
2. Sharyn Kervyn, Wine Director, The Capital Grille
3. Caroline Morris, Wine Buyer, H-E-B Grocery
4. Remi Petri, Head of Procurement, NakedWines.com
5. Jared Seitzer, Wine Buyer, Bounty Hunter Rare Wines & Spirits
6. Eric Sigmund, Wine Manager, Total Wine & More
7. Daniel Cameron, Lead Sommelier at The Battery, San Francisco
8. Sue Straight, Wine Director, Oakville Grocery
9. Cesar Varela, Sommelier, Cellar Master at Fabio Trabocchi
10. Amy Witz, Sommelier, Hyatt Regency Chicago
11. Yong Zhu, Lead Mixologist, China Live Ventures
12. Mauro Cirilli, Wine & Beverage Director, Sidecar Hospitality
13. Liz Thach, MW
14. Sahar Gharai, Owner, La Dolce Vita Wine Lounge
15. Marc Batline, Wine Specialist, Costco
16. Bruce Abbott, Wine and Spirits Buyer at Liquor Stores, NA Ltd.
17. Jeffrey Cody, Wine Buyer, Whole Foods Market
18. Aaron Babcock, Sommelier, Quince Pacific Avenue
19. Pat Andress
20. Charles Curtis, Master of Wine
21. JoAnn DeGaglia, Sommelier at Glenmere Mansion, New York
22. Tim Hanni, Master of Wine, Napa Wine Academy
23. Daniel Sullivan
25. Richard Gilbert
The scoring system of the USA Wine Ratings competition is the same scoring system used earlier this year at the London Wine Competition, which is also hosted and organized by Beverage Trade Network. Based on the initial success of this year’s USA Wine Ratings Competition, Beverage Trade Network plans to run the competition again in 2019 and will be opening up entries in August.
Media sponsors for this year’s USA Wine Ratings competition included The Buyer, iSanté, Food & Beverage Magazine, Society of Wine Educators and Wine Industry Insight.
Beverage Trade Network (BTN) hosts events, competitions, expos, tastings and conferences for the alcohol beverage industry on a global basis. In addition to the USA Wine Ratings Competition, for example, BTN also hosts the London Wine Competition. In addition, BTN hosts the USA Trade Tasting event in New York, the International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show in San Francisco and London, and a number of other events in Asia, Europe and North America.
Beverage Trade Network is dedicated to helping wine producers and wine brand owners get closer to buyers, distributors and retailers. As part of this mission, Beverage Trade Network organizes events as part of a wider drinks initiative to introduce new brands, producers and manufacturers to the global marketplace.
For more information on Beverage Trade Network: