July 23-24, 2018. San Francisco. Enter Your Wines Now.
The newly announced USA Wine Ratings will take place in San Francisco, California on July 23-24, 2018. The event is already generating buzz within the wine industry because this awards competition will use an entirely new benchmark for judging wines. In contrast to the traditional wine scoring system, which only rewards winemaking ability, the new scoring system of the USA Wine Ratings will use a weighting of three different criteria: Quality, Value and Packaging.
The USA Wine Ratings follows on the heels of the London Wine Competition, which took place earlier this year. Both events are part of a global awards initiative by Beverage Trade Network, which organizes wine industry events around the world every year. The goal of the USA Wine Ratings is to challenge industry-wide notions of what makes a great wine, as well as to align the criteria of both commercial buyers and average wine drinkers.
At its core, the USA Wine Ratings is an awards competition that takes into account the average wine drinker. While the quality of the wine is obviously of greatest importance, other factors such as how a wine looks on a shelf, the overall design and presentation of the wine (including the label), and the relative value that a wine provides within a price category also play a very important role in the whole wine drinking experience.
According to Sid Patel, Founder and CEO of Beverage Trade Network, the launch of this new event in the heart of California wine country is of special significance. “It’s one thing to host an awards competition in a region not known for its great wines,” he says, “But it’s another thing entirely to host an awards competition in a city like San Francisco, the capital of one of the world’s most famous wine regions.”
“With the USA Wine Ratings, we are really celebrating the global wine industry, and everything it has to offer,” Patel says. “We would like to reward those brands and products that consumers actually want to buy, rather then simply recognizing high-quality wines on the basis of winemaking ability alone.”
Hosting the USA Wine Ratings in San Francisco, then, is really about changing the perceptions of an entire industry. “And the way you do that is by going to the wine capitals of the world and providing examples of what great wines look and taste like,” says Patel.
JUDGING CRITERIA FOR THE USA WINE RATINGS
For a wine to receive a high overall score, it will need to perform well according to three major criteria:
- Quality: Quality will be assessed on how agreeable the wine is for its target customer and chemical analysis. Quality will take into account Appearance, Aroma, Body, Taste and Aftertaste.
- Value: Value in this context means how well the wine is priced based on its quality. The key metric here is the retail price of the wine.
- Packaging: Packaging in this context means how customers will perceive the wine on a wine shelf. Factors includes label, bottle color, bottle shape and closure.
It is precisely these three criteria that play the most vital role in determining which wines consumers really want to purchase. As Patel points out, “Our goal in coming up with these criteria was being able to provide a clear guide to wines. Anyone buying an award-winning wine recognized by the USA Wine Ratings will know that that they are getting maximum value for their wine purchase.”
The problem faced by many wine buyers today, says Patel, is that it can be difficult and confusing to pick out exactly the right wine for the right occasion. “With so many products on the shelves today,” notes Patel, “It can be very challenging to know what to buy.”
SCORING SYSTEM FOR THE USA WINE RATINGS
A specific weighting for each of these three judging criteria will result in a final score. It is on the basis of the final score that a wine will be eligible for a Gold, Silver or Bronze prize. The weighting of the judging criteria is as follows:
- Quality: A score between 0 and 50
- Value: A score between 0 and 25
- Packaging: A score between 0 and 25
Q (Quality Score) + Value Score (V) + Packaging Score (P) = USA Wine Ratings Score
As can be seen here, Quality will be responsible for determining 50% of a wine’s final score. However, simply scoring the maximum number of points within this category will not be enough to win an overall Gold, Silver or Bronze award. The scoring system for these awards is as follows:
- Gold: A score of 90+
- Silver: A score of 80 to 89
- Bronze: A score of 70 to 79
According to Patel, this scoring system was a big hit with London wine drinkers earlier this year at the London Wine Competition, and generated a tremendous amount of discussion about the overall drinkability of a wine.
The panel of judges will include top-level wine buyers with current direct commercial buying responsibility. The list of judges will be drawn from leading retail chains, wholesalers, distributors and on-trade groups across a variety of channels and disciplines.
“Together, we can help to create a selection of the highest quality and most commercially viable wines available in the world,” says Patel.
It is expected, too, that the commercial wine trade will begin to put an overall emphasis on wines that have been judged highly at the USA Wine Ratings. The reason, quite simply, is that they need to stock the wines on their shelves that wine drinkers are buying and requesting.
Super Early Bird Registration: Ends April 30, 2018
Warehouse closes for samples: July 15, 2018
Judging: July 23-24, 2018
Winners announced: August 15, 2018
$120 ends April 30, 2018
$150 from May 1 to June 15, 2018
$170 from June 16 to July 10, 2018
For additional questions on the USA Wine Ratings, including details on how to become part of the competition, please contact Sid Patel at [email protected]
Editor’s Note: USA Wine Ratings originally appeared as USA Wine Challenge