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National Tasting Project

2020 Instructions | 2019 Results

Compare scores with hundreds of AWS wine friends

The annual American Wine Society National Tasting Project unites AWS members across the country for a themed educational wine tasting. The NTP committee chooses a different theme each year and selects several wines that exemplify different styles within that theme. The committee provides educational materials via an in-depth PowerPoint presentation. It’s a ready-made tasting event!

Members, through a chapter or on their own, hold a blind tasting between January and October to sample and score the wines. They submit their results and then see how their scores compare to other AWS chapters/members.


The 2020 National Virtual Tasting Project:

Expanding & Exciting! Washington State AVAs, featuring Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Washington Portfolio


Industry professionals interested in proposing a theme, or anyone with questions about the program should contact:

Sharyn Kervyn, NTP Chair

Check out the 2019 NTP results.

National Tasting Project 2020

Thank you for your interest in
Hosting the National Tasting Project 2020

Expanding and Exciting! AVAs of Washington
The National Tasting Project 2020 is an AVA study of Washington State. Washington’s viticulture map has been growing rapidly. This year explore what’s new and exciting with AVA regions in the state and wines representing those areas. The in-depth PowerPoint includes notes for the presenter and is designed to customize based on the level of information you wish to include. This year we have partnered with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and have selected 12 wines for the tasting from their diverse portfolio. You can taste as few as 6 up to all 12 wines if you wish, or break up into 2 tastings of 6 or more wines each—your choice. The average price for 1 bottle each of all 12 wines with estimated shipping would run around $303 (this would be approximately $19 pp for 16 people). Please meet with your Chapter Chair to coordinate these tastings and select which wines to feature. The tastings are designed to be BLIND. Wines should be purchased by the end of April, and the reporting form is due by October 5, 2020, at the latest, to be included in the final results (earlier this year to due the early dates for the national conference).

Your Chapter Chair will receive a copy of the PowerPoint presentation (which is best on a laptop/monitor or can be printed out) and an Excel master packet. The Excel packet will have everything you need: instructions, wine list, ordering information, reporting form and survey. This information will be sent to the Chapter Chairs in January 2020. If you do not receive your copy by the end of January, please contact the AWS Executive to have it resent.

We presented the NTP in two virtual tastings in September and October. You can share them with your chapter, taste the wines and submit your scores. Part 1of the NTP and Part 2 are available on the American Wine Society YouTube Now page.

You can access the slides and script for Part 1 and theslides and script for Part 2.

For questions about the program, contact:
Sharyn Kervyn, NTP Chair

PowerPoint: Melissa Bartlett

Reporting Form: Chris McCutcheon

2020 NTP Committee Members:

Chris McCutcheon, Pam Davey, Melissa Bartlett

Tasting Committee: Gary Pavlis, Dave Barber, John Mahoney, Joanne Mahoney, Roger Oliva, Semerita Oliva, Emmanuel Kervyn, Khadija Woods, Larry Cox, and Sharyn Kervyn (Chair)

How to Conduct the Blind Tasting

The PowerPoint (or sheets if you’re not using a computer) is to be used in conjunction with this blind tasting. Since it is blind, do not give out the tasting spec sheets until after the scores are tallied. The PowerPoint presentation has instructions built into it.

Blind Tasting Preparation
Do not reveal the wines to the participants before the tasting.

Supplies Needed
  • Paper bags long enough to cover the bottles
  • Water pitchers
  • Tape
  • Marking pen
  • Corkscrew
  • Extra blank corks (optional)
  • Pencils
  • Scoring sheets (included with PowerPoint or printed presentations)
  • Dump buckets
  • Plastic cups (2 per person—1 for water, 1 for spitting)
  • Wine glasses (there are 12 wines, the more glasses the better, but 2 would be the suggested bare minimum per person). During the tasting, if you only have 2 glasses per person, have everyone try 2 wines, then turn the first glass upside down to ‘drain’ while tasting the second glass. No need to rinse with water (rinsing with wine is usually better but to save $ better to drip this way and pour the next wine, etc.) Continue until all wines are scored.
All members, and particularly those who are new to scoring, are encouraged to watch this video on using the AWS scoring sheet.

  1. The wines should be tasted in the order noted on the “list of wines” section. Do not re-arrange wines by cost or any other reason. We want to give all the wines a fair chance in the ratings and they are arranged specifically for this reason.
  2. Remove the capsules from the bottle necks completely.
  3. Number the bags, keeping track of which wine will be in each bag.
  4. One to two hours before the tasting, open the wines to allow them to breathe. Hide the corks or screw caps. The whites should have already been chilled and kept in the refrigerator to keep cold.
  5. Place each bottle in the numbered paper bag that corresponds with your list and tape the bag shut near the top so the wine cannot be identified.
  6. Review the tasting instructions, background material, PowerPoint and/or printed material and reporting information before the tasting.
  7. It is important that each participant use an AWS scoring sheet to write down descriptors and scores. Encourage everyone to score the wines. However, if someone has concerns about scoring, please make sure he/she is counted in the total attendees on the reporting form.
  8. If someone is an AWS Graduate Wine Judge (CWJ), he/she needs to mark CWJ in the upper right hand corner of the scoring sheet. It is important for proper analysis that judge status is identified.
  9. Prior to the formal tasting, or during the social period, educate the participants with the background information provided or your own research on the regions and wines.
  10. Begin the PowerPoint presentation and follow the instructions on the pages (this is duplicated on the printed sheets, if not using a computer).
  11. When instructed, ask volunteers to pour the first wine (Bag #1). Allow a few minutes for everyone to taste, score and write comments before proceeding to the next wine. Then, pour the next wine (Bag #2) and allow time for evaluation. Continue until all wines have been poured and sampled.
  12. We highly recommend that the tasting be conducted with no discussion, so each participant can form his/her own opinions. Once all the wines are tasted and scored, continue the PowerPoint (or sheets) to reveal what the wines are. You can then remove the bags to reveal the wines and encourage discussion about them.
  13. When the tasting is finished, collect all the scoring sheets. Follow the instructions provided for reporting the results. If desired, tasting forms can be returned to the attendees after the results have been tabulated.
  14. The reporting form should be completed on a computer using the Excel document and e-mailed to within 2 weeks after the tasting. All results must be received by October 5, 2020 or they will not be able to be included in final report.
  15. Please contact Sharyn Kervyn if you have any questions about the wines or conducting the tasting.

Have a great tasting and enjoy the wines!

Please also fill out our survey form and include photos.

We welcome your feedback!

Prior National Tasting Project Results

Discovering wine from Portugal to Argentina

2018 National Tasting Project "Wines of Portugal"

2017 National Tasting Project "Organic, Sustainable & Biodynamic Wines"

2016 National Tasting Project "Rhone Rangers"

2015 National Tasting Project "Austria and Hungary"

Contact if you have any questions or comments about the National Tasting Project.


Contact us

American Wine Society
PO Box 889
Scranton, PA 18501
(888) 297-9070