So the two-week judging process of the International Wine Challenge (IWC) has finished. It has been hard work, but great fun, with a real sense of joint enterprise and community among the many judges who participated.
One of the reasons I’m proud to be associated with this competition is the rigour of the judging. Every wine gets a fair chance, and is taken seriously.
Judging wines blind is hard, and even for experienced professionals, it’s not an absolutely certain process. The panels at the IWC are very skilled, and are constantly refined by a feedback process, but even so, they occasionally miss a wine. That’s why the IWC has a unique three-stage process. There’s week one, where all wines are judged, and those deemed not medal worthy are kicked out. Then there’s week two, where all the surviving wines from week one are re-judged. And then there are the six co-chairs (I’m now one of these) who act as a safety net and moderate the results to ensure even judging, In week one we just look at the rejected wines, and can reinstate any we feel deserve a second chance. In week two, we check all the medals for consistency.
Here’s a film I shot yesterday interviewing my fellow co-chairs to explain our judging system: how it works, and why we think it’s strong, and especially fair on all the wines.