Amateur Wine Competition

Amateur Wine Competition

Oct 30-31, 2024

About the American Wine Society Amateur Wine Competition

An American Wine Society 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 the American Wine Society 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 American Wine Society 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.

2023 Best Wine Label

Judging amateur wines

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 makes the American Wine Society Amateur Competition an instructive tool, as well as an awards program. In addition, the Society provides a database for home winemakers, which allows them to track progress from year to year.

Winning wines receive American Wine Society medals, posting on the American Wine Society website and publicity in American Wine Society publications.

Best of Class award winners also are recognized in a press release and an awards ceremony at the National Conference.

Chairperson Amateur Wine Competition Chairs Vince Williams