Scoring and Rules

Tournament Operation

Wines are poured for each participating team in intervals of approximately 8 minutes between pours. The organizers are solely responsible for timing. Contestants will have 10 minutes upon completion of the final wine 8 minute sampling period to finalize their answer sheet prior to turning  in for scoring.

A form will be provided for teams to submit their answers for scoring. Blank paper will be provided for notes. The use of reference materials such as printed sheets, books, or electronic devices are not allowed during the competition. Use of any of these items for any reason during the competition or during any breaks will result in a point deduction for the team responsible for the rule infraction. The organizers will determine the penalty for each infraction observed and the point deductions will be solely determined by the organizers.


Points will be awarded for correct identification of key characteristics of the sampled wines. No points will be deducted for incorrect answers. Points will be awarded by the following criteria:

  1. Identification of the predominant grape varietal will be awarded one point for each 10 percent that the main varietal comprises the wine. For example, a wine that consists of seventy percent of a grape varietal will receive seven points for a correct identification. No points will be awarded for identification of lesser varietals in a wine. No points will be awarded if two wine varietals are provided.
  2. Five points will be awarded for identification of the country of origin of the grapes.
  3. Five points will be awarded for identification of the main wine region where the grapes originated, for example, Bourdeaux. In the case where a team enters a specific sub-region, such as Margaux, rather than the main region, full points will be awarded if the sub-region is correct. However, no points will be awarded for incorrect sub-region identification, even if the incorrect sub-region is within the correct main region It is safer to identify the main wine region rather than a sub-region.
  4. Correct identification of the vintage, the year that the grapes were harvested, scores 3 points if the country of origin was also correct. Only 1 point will be awarded for a correct year but with a wrong country of origin identified.
  5. Identification of the wine producer is awarded 2 points.
  6. In cases where spelling is incorrect or writing is not legible, the judges have sole discretion whether to award or not award points, if the intent of the answer is not clear to them. There will be no attempt to gain clarification from the contestants once the scoring process has begun.

World Championship Participation

The two teams with the highest point total, after any deductions for rules infractions, will be selected to represent the United States at the World Wine Tasting Championships. The members of the top two teams will be provided coach air fare to a city near the competition, lodging at the competition site for both nights of the competition events, as well as all entry fees for the competition and associated festivities. If one of the top two teams are unable to attend the World Championship, the opportunity to represent will be offered to the third-place team. Travel within the country to the event, or travel expenses for any guests of the winning teams will not be included. If the third-place team cannot attend, the event organizers will then complete the U.S. Team through invitation.