This was a tremendously eye opening experience. To see how the wines end up achieving their various medals at a show was very interesting, and perhaps not what the punters would expect.
RQWS 2012 Fact: Although overall entries were down, the number of wineries entering their wines was up.
Each winery pays an entrance fee per wine entered and five bottles of each entry need to be supplied. Judging is conducted by four panels of judges which is comprised of a senior judge and two judges. Each panel also has an associate judge who is a judge in training.
For the first time at the show the 100 point system was used. Some judges were in favour, whilst others, well, not so much. But as the show went on the doubters warmed to the easiness of the 100 point system. Once all judges had scored their wines the average score from the four judges was given as the final result. This average is not gained mathematically but via discussion and agreeing upon an appropriate score. Witnessing such discussions and how each judge justified and held their position was most interesting.
The 100 point scoring system:
Gold - 96 to 100 points
Silver - 90 to 95 points
Bronze - 84 to 89 points
Judging wines using the traditional system totalling 20 points (not used in this show):
Condition and colour - 3
Bouquet - 7
Flavour - 10
An aged Semillon class presented only one wine as another example.
RQWS 2012 Fact: In a class of 102 Shiraz wines, only five were sealed with a cork
Each wine is poured for each judged and placed on a table ruled with 8cm spacing as you can see from the photo. Once the judges have completed their work they go off and discuss potential gold medals. If golds are to be awarded, the panel return to taste these wines once again which have been freshly poured. Top gold is awarded to the wine which is the highest point scorer in the field. If more than one are awarded the same score the Chief Judge is called to make a final decision and award Top Gold.
At the conclusion of judging all top gold wines are assembled to determine trophy winners.
Behind the scenes, the stewards are not only pouring wines but assembling wines on benches identical to those in the judging area. All glasses are rinsed then poured. Once ready, the class is then presented to each judge. When judging is complete the stewards remove all glasses, and move on to collecting the next class of wines for judging before the process is repeated.
Being a steward at an RNA show was a great experience, certainly a rewarding one with so much gained after being given the opportunity to rub shoulders with so many experienced and knowledgeable people in the industry.
Results for the RNA Queensland Wine Show 2012