I entered a cider and my bell pepper peach wine in the local fair last week, and I got the results and the judge’s notes back. I found the judging experience quite fun, but the entering part quite odd.
I got a blue ribbon for my bell pepper peach wine 12 points out of 20 points, which is 60%. According to the judging scale, that is a “Good” wine. A lot of the comments I got I was actually kind of expecting, but I decided to go ahead and enter it anyway just to see it though. Everyone was talking about it, and when I went to pick up the score sheet, the clerk even commented on the buzz it produced. I’m definitely going to make this again with recipe modifications for next year.
My cider didn’t hold up as well, which could have been because it got shoved over to the beer competition, where it is impossible for them to score the “hops”. It got a red ribbon with 32 points out of 50, which fell into the “Very Good” category. Actually, that is a 64%, which is higher than the bell pepper peach wine even though it got a red. Good news was that was the top cider, but I think next year I would purposely mislabel it as a “apple wine” to get it into the wine competition. You see, there is a organized Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) which has encompassed beer and mead, even those two are made in a wine like fashion. I would not expect beer drinkers to really understand how to judge it, as it would be like having a coffee drinker judge tea.
As far as judging goes, my favorite wine that I had tasted that night was a Pinot Grigio by Ken Stinger. I originally ranked it a 17, but some of my fellow judges ranked it only an 11, partly because it was the first wine we had of the night. As a result, I lowered my score to a 15 due to we all needed to be within 4 points of each other, which we all later regretted, giving it an average score of 13.44. I’m glad that he had a Pinot Nior that took second place with 16.50 points. I wish them luck with their amateur winemaking label, Gam Cellars. If they ever get a license, I would definitely recommend them.