So, how do wine competitions decide which wine is a gold medal winner? To begin with, it depends on which wineries took the initiative to submit their wines. A wine competition doesn’t go out in search of the best wines. Rather, it selects the best of what is submitted.
In the case of the 2012 Lieutenant Governor Wine Awards (LGWA, for short), 73 Ontario wineries submitted a total of 258 bottles of wine. This meant the group of judges had to – in just one day– taste 258 wines. The wines were split by variety or wine style. So, Riesling was tasted with Riesling; sparkling wine was tasted with sparkling wine. The wines were on an even playing field.
The judges (or adjudicators, as they were referred to as by the Lieutenant Governor’s office) were split into three panels. This meant that each judge would only have to taste 100 or so wines. The panels would come to a consensus on their favourites from each category, selecting the wines that would make it to round two. Some flights saw no wines move on, others saw two or three.
By the end of Day 1, 58 wines had been deemed worthy of going forward. On Day 2, the judges had to select from those wines a maximum of 12 that would be given the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The 11 wines they ended up selecting can now be found on the Lieutenant Governor’s website at http://www.lt.gov.on.ca/en/wine_awards/LGAEOW_2012.pdf.
And, indeed, the judges did select some truly exceptional wines.