I must begin this edition of our 60-second Wine Course with an apology… I neglected to send an issue out at my regularly scheduled time 2 weeks ago.  The reason for that oversight is that we were all very busy preparing for our annual wine competition, which took place on May 15, and had little time for anything else.  The past week has been slower, but since I am still caught up in the aftermath of the competition, including releasing results and contacting winners, I thought it might be a good time to talk about competitions and what they mean to you.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of wine competitions in this country every year, and hundreds more in other countries around the world.  Some are more prestigious than others.  Some are large.  Some are small.  Some evaluate wines from around the world.  Others evaluate regional wines only.  All are designed to help you, the consumer, make more educated choices regarding your wine selection.

The DWO competition is Michigan’s largest juried international competition and features wines from around the world – all of which are available in the marketplace.  This year we had 60 expert judges who spent their Saturday morning tasting 341 wines and evaluating them on the basis of appearance, aroma and bouquet, taste and texture, finish and overall impression.  In teams of 5, they designated the wines as Bronze, Silver, Gold and Double Gold winners.  Each wine was tasted by at least two panels of judges and scores were averaged for a final medal award.

The judges had no idea what price range the wines fell into when they were evaluating them, and each wine was evaluated on its own merits, not in comparison to other wines in its category.  So, you can be confident that the wines on this list, regardless of price, are quality choices.  Wines which scored a Silver Medal or above and are priced at $15 or less are considered “DWO Deals”.

The standards the judges used when evaluating the wines were: Double Gold – a classic, great wine, perfect to practically perfect, 96-100 points (only one wine scored a double gold in our competition this year –  Rocca delle Macie Ser Gioveto); Gold – an outstanding wine of superior character and quality – 90-95 points; Silver -a very good wine with special qualities, 85-89 points; Bronze – a good, solid, well-made wine, 80-84 points.  Think of the DWO Competition as your local “Wine Spectator” – providing you with an independent, expert evaluation of wines you can purchase in your local restaurants and wine shops.

All wines from our competition were available for tasting at our After Glow the evening of May 15.  They will also be featured at the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Garden Party on June 13 and our Grand Tasting on October 1 – so you’ll have plenty of chances to sample to your hearts content.

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