Judging Wine Judges


Congratulations, your wine won first place! Or it was out of medal contention. Your mom liked it, so why worry?

On Saturday, The Guardian published a story on wine judges that may shock some home winemakers. Then again, if they enter contests often, maybe it won’t. The article detailed the work of Robert Hodgson, who tracked how trained wine judges scored the same wine (poured from the same bottle) when they encountered it multiple times during a judging session. His research showed that, when wines were judged on a 50-point scale (covering the values 50-100), the typical judges score for the same wine varied as much as 8 points (plus or minus four points from the midpoint value). Some judges performed significantly better than others, but interestingly, good performance one year did not guarantee good performance the next year.

The original research was published in the Journal of Wine Economics.