2004 Wine Show Project Overview

In August 2001, the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology held a seminar Who’s Running the Show”? – Future Directions for the Australian Wine Show System, to debate the strengths, weaknesses and ways ahead for Australian wine shows. Several issues and different options were presented by a wide cross section of industry representatives and the seminar was applauded as the first step in decades towards refinement and improvement of the wine show system.

Following this seminar, a small industry based ASVO Wine Show Committee (WSC) was formed to address some of the challenges facing Australian wine shows that were identified at the 2001 seminar. Over the past 18 months, the WSC have undertaken a comprehensive review of overall wine show practices and have complied five recommendations to assist wine show organisers in improving the overall management of their shows. These will also continue to strengthen the integrity of the Australian wine show system as a whole.

These five recommendations cover a comprehensive range of areas and include:

  • Audit Protocols
  • Judge Impartiality
  • Trophy Judging
  • Wine Show Standards
  • Use of Medals

In order to ensure that all recommendations reflect current industry sentiments, an industry based Reference Group was established to act as a sounding board for all proposals. This has ensured that all recommendations on wine show practices have been scrutinised by the wider wine industry.

We hope that these recommendations are received by wine shows, exhibitors and judges alike in the spirit by which they were intended – to ensure the prosperity of Australian wine shows and to continue to promote and improve the Australian wine industry as a whole.

We are grateful to the ASVO for the considerable moral and financial support for this project in it’s initial and most busy phase. Such an industry initiative is unparalleled in Australia and the resources have been invaluable in ensuring that we could attract expert input.

The ASVO WSC will continue to monitor the progress of the Australian wine show system and will develop new strategies to further improve the system as needs arise.

Wine Show Project Recommendations

These five recommendations were presented at a workshop at the 12th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Melbourne on Tuesday 27th July 2004.

Workshop delegates have been asked to review these recommendations in more detail and any amendments will be updated via this website shortly if required.

Judge Impartiality

RECOMMENDATION I deals with the issue of judge impartiality, which refers to a wine show judge remaining neutral and objective throughout the judging process. It is hoped this recommendation will assist wine shows in the implementation of procedures to eliminate the potential for a judge to be unduly influenced by external pressures. These strategies include randomisation of exhibits, enforcing a code of silence when tasting, disguising the identity of wines and exhibitors and the responsibilities of judges.


Audit protocols

RECOMMENDATION II deals with the issue of wine show audits and promoting a consistent and standardised auditing protocol for all wine shows. It outlines strategies for implementation by wine shows, including minimum levels of entries to be audited, when, what and how to audit, clearer exhibitor and entry identification, penalties for breech of regulations, use of check samples, correct marketing by exhibitors and assistance with training auditors.


Trophy judging

RECOMMENDATION III on Trophy Judging outlines research undertaken by Dr John Field who surveyed some of the judging methods in existence and the paradoxical results which can be obtained. This recommendation highlights the effectiveness and validity of the Borda Count method of judging. It is recommended that this method be adopted to ensure that all scores count and that all wines are rated in order of preference when judging trophies.


Wine show standards

RECOMMENDATION IV is a complete overhaul of the 1986 Standards developed by the ASVO. The Wine Show Standards provide an up-to-date and effective guideline for use by wine shows when compiling entry regulations and planning the conduct of shows. The Standards also address many issues identified as challenges within the current wine show system, including class sizes, numbers of entries, judge fatigue, varying regulations between shows, judge training and entry criteria

The Standards address in detail the following areas:

Class DescriptionDefinition of Style
Class Sizes Volumes
Consumer ClassesOpen Classes
Unwooded Chardonnay ClassesMixed Varietal and Blended Classes
Individual VineyardsUnfinished Wines
International EntriesEntry Criteria for Exhibits
Points, Medals & TrophiesResponsibilities of Wine Shows
Responsibilities of ExhibitorsResponsibilities of Judges

Use of medals

RECOMMENDATION V was developed in line with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia’s Code of Practice on the use of wine show medals in order to improve the integrity of genuine wine show awards and protect their value. This recommendation outlines to wine shows and exhibitors alike the value of discouraging the misleading use of medals, argues against the portability of awards and supports awarding medals only to finished wines.

Looking for a wine show judge?

ASVO Wine show judge register

The ASVO Wine Show Judge Register was an initiative of the ASVO Wine Show Committee and was created in order to capture and record all relevant judging history of those industry colleagues who wish to be promoted as wine show judges.

The register has over 300 industry professionals listed, and also includes people who wish to become wine show judges. This register has been made available to all Australian national and regional wine shows to assist them in selecting judge and associates.

The ASVO has a strong commitment to ensure that this initiative continues, promoting the professional development of wine show judges and associates. This register will be updated regulary and further recruitment of registered judges or aspiring judges continues.

The fully searchable Wineshow Judges database is only accessible to ASVO members. However, given that non members may wish to have access to our current list of Wineshow judges and their judging history we have made a PDF of the register available for one off purchase by members. Please visit the General Store to purchase your copy. Alternatively you may become an ASVO member and gain full access to the database.