The Orange County Wine Society, in conjunction with the OC Fair, sponsors one of the largest and most prestigious Winemaking Competitions in California devoted to amateur winemaking. This competition is highly recognized throughout the state. This event has played an important part in the development and support of the amateur winemaker in California since our first competition in 1977.

This judging recognizes non-professional winemakers for their outstanding wines while at the same time providing invaluable feedback through written evaluations and scores which are then returned to the winemaker.

Some competitions are held primarily to provide encouragement and positive feedback to aspiring winemakers. The Orange County Home Wine Competition is this type of competition and the winemakers receive a copy of the judge's score-sheets for each wine submitted. This way the participating winemakers receive unbiased feedback about the quality of their wines. In addition, the information they receive, can provide valuable feedback on how their wines can be improved. Novice winemakers can benefit greatly from participating in these kinds of wine competitions.

The Orange County Wine Society conducts a "Double-Blind" competition. Judging wine quality is subjective at best and wine judges can be influenced by who made the wine and where the grapes were grown and other factors. Therefore, the only credible way of rating wine quality is to have the judges taste the wines "blind." Here, the term blind implies that the judges never see the wine labels so the winemaker is unknown. Many of the better wine competitions use a "double blind" system. Here, the wine bottles are covered and given an identifying number as they are received. On judging day, the covered wine bottles are delivered to the steward's room that is separate from the judging room. Stewards then pour the covered bottles of wine into numbered glasses and deliver the glasses to the judges. The stewards only see covered, numbered bottles and judges only see numbered glasses of wine. In double blind competitions, neither the wine stewards nor the wine judges know the identity of the wines.

Wines are scored by panels consisting of three or four judges. Each judge on the panel tastes each wine and fills out a score sheet for each wine. Each panel has a head judge that has is responsible for overseeing the overall the scoring process . The Panels award gold, silver, bronze or honorable mention ribbons based on the total of the scores on the score sheets. Generally, a sound wine having no significant defects, will be awarded an honorable mention award if the wine receives a score of 12 or 13 points. Wines scoring 14 or 15 points will be awarded a bronze ribbon. Wines scoring 16 or 17 will receive a silver ribbon and wines scoring 18 to 20 points will receive a gold ribbon. Wines, receiving a double-gold award are those that are considered "Best of Show" quality and are included in that judging.

We look forward to your entry and hope you will be pleased with the results. If you have any questions specific to the event, the entry form, shipping instructions or delivery deadlines, the following are available to assist you:

Competition Chairman:
Bill Forsch

Assistant Chairman:
Kim Guerin
(949) 291-1020

Orange County Wine Society Office:
P.O. Box 11059
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Phone: 714.708.1636
FAX: 714.546.5002