The judging process

All the wines are blind tasted by category and are judged on food-friendliness, versatility, typicity, personality and importantly, value for money at whatever the price. Judges are shown the trade prices of each wine as they are judging a flight. If wines are ‘tight’ or young and expensive, they are decanted before tasting.

In the first round of judging, around 25% of entries receive a Commended classification, with about 50% of entries making it through to the next round. In the second round, the wines are considered for medal status: Bronze, Silver and the ultimate award, a place on the Gold List.

Please note that there is an ‘overseeing’ position for the final round of judging, with Hakkasan’s ex-group wine buyer, Christine Parkinson, keeping a handle on all of the wines that are put forward by the tasting teams for places on the Gold List.

Further to this there are special category awards: Thirty Gold-Listed wines are judged in a taste-off round featuring 12 key restaurant dishes, the winners picking up Food Match awards. Critics’ Choice awards are given to wines that the judges simply fall in love with, whatever their price or style. By the Glass and Pub & Bar award winners are great value, versatile wines that would be great on their own or with food, whatever your venue.

Senior judges decide on the ultimate trophies, the Wines of the Year: Overall Wine of the Year, House Wine of the Year, Fine Wine of the Year, and Gastropub Wine of the Year.

Finally there are Merchant and Producer Awards, given to those submitters who have done particularly well in certain areas.