About the AWS Amateur Wine Competition
An AWS amateur wine competition has been an integral part of the National Conference for almost as long as the Society has existed.
In the late 1960s, the Society’s founders addressed home winemakers interests in the organization’s first “Constitution.” The founders stated that a purpose of AWS shall be “to foster the production of wine by home winemakers and to provide means for such amateurs to meet to exchange information and experience, and to compare and judge their products”.
A competition evolved as an opportunity for AWS home winemakers to showcase their creations and have them judged by their peers. Today the competition requires year-long preparation, dedicated volunteers, and a refined system of computers and human resources to handle operational details. To cover costs of the program, participating wine makers are charged an entry fee.
All wines entered in the Amateur Competition are evaluated, blind and by consensus, by the same top-rated professional judges overseeing the Commercial Wine Competition. These judges are chosen from a broad range of industry experts and include those trained and certified by the American Wine Society, many who are current or former home wine makers.
Judges use the same guidelines and evaluation techniques that are applied to the Commercial Wine Competition with one important difference: the score sheets and critique comments are returned to the amateur winemakers. These written comment sheets are often more valuable to the amateur winemaker than winning an award, as they can include suggestions on how to make improvements or enhance the characteristics of the wines. This very useful service making the AWS Amateur Competition an instructive tool as well as an awards program. In addition, the Society provides a database for home winemakers, tracking progress from year to year.
Winning wines receive AWS medals, posting on the AWS website and publicity in AWS Publications.
Best of Class award winners are recognized in a press release and an awards ceremony at the National Conference as well.
Chairperson Amateur Wine Competition Chairs Melissa Bartlett Larry Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org
About the AWS Commercial Wine Competition
The American Wine Society competition for commercial wine, which now includes spirits, has been held annually since the 1986 National Conference.
Today the competition requires year-long preparation, dedicated volunteers, and a refined system of computers and human resources to handle operational details.
Judges are selected from a broad spectrum of wine industry professionals, including marketers, writers and wine makers. A significant number of judges for each competition are also chosen from among graduates of the AWS’s own rigorous and well regarded Wine Judge Certification Program. All wines are judged blind and by panel consensus.
Winning wines receive AWS medals, posting on the AWS website and publicity in AWS publications. Best of Class award winners are recognized in both popular and trade media. All wines entered are offered to attendees immediately following the competition during the National Conference and top award winners are featured. Attendees are avid and knowledgeable wine consumers, making the Conference an ideal marketing opportunity. Year long, entered wines are poured at other AWS, wine consumer and trade events.
Commercial Wine Competition Chairpersons
Al Guber& Mike Wassenberg