Wine competitions, at what cost?

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NorCal

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We have one of the best wine making clubs around, here in Sacramento. I am looking to organize an event during a group buy at harvest this year. The SHW incorporated in 1973 and is the oldest continuously operating home winemaking club west of the Rockies. I know a lot of the members, but the meetings are a half hour away and I have a thing about not drinking and driving.

Reflecting on the comments, makes me conclude that I have a good network to get feedback, without having to pay $20. Since I still have an interest in participating in the competition, perhaps it is ego vs. feedback, wanting to prove to myself and perhaps others that my wines were judged to be among the best.
 

hounddawg

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Up to you, but as for my ego as long as I'm pleased and my loved ones and a few friends are please I'm beyond proud, most especially since nine chances outta ten that if I took a drink of the judges wine I'd try to find a way to discretely spit it out, when younger I got around some, and I realized that most award winning wines are discribed as earthy=DIRT, CHAULKY=TASTED THAT IN GRADE SCHOOL, an LEATHERY= TASTED THAT MANY A TIME BREAKING/RIDING/DRIVING HORSES,, all of which is not me, if others enjoy that then god bless them I am so happy for them, but you and others told me years ago I only had to please myself, and I get my ego rush knowing my wines has been cleared by eight criminal judges on being legal the way I only charge for the fruit labels corks an so fourth, I help out leaders of the community, some super rich row crop farmers after lol my family an friends that is my ego. Trip, but best of all when I kick back alone pull a cork and take a sip an my eyes roll up in my head, then I am happy, as you and others taught me I only have to please myself, AN THAT I HAVE DONE THANKS TO YOU AMOUNG OTHERS ON HERE,,,,
Dawg









When I did my first wine from grapes in 2014, I saet a goal of winning a gold medal at the state level; CA State Fair. They have 3,000+ wines entered and winning a gold is the top 10-15% of the wines. I entered my first year and received Silvers. It cost me $8, a bottle of wine and around an hours worth of driving. The entry fee has now gone up to $20 per bottle :ft

I make the wine first for my wife, then me, then family and friends, then fellow winemakers. Their feedback is more important than wine judges, but I'm not sure it is always honest, nor is it trained to evaluate fine wine making or detect faults in wine.

There are three wines I wanted to enter. I have plenty of wine, don't mind the drive, but the thought of spending $60 and 3 bottles of wine for a ribbon is making me think about abondoning my goal.

Actual clusters from the vineyard I source grapes from:

 

Johny99

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I've entered a few. Ego is part of it, but my hope is for good valuable feedback like I received from th Great white wine competition. Medals and ribbons are nice, but I really crave the feedback, as in specifics. That is hard to get from family and friends, at least for me. They just want more.
 

joeswine

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wine competitions

I myself started out trying to make a wine that wouldn't make me go blind, after that, a wine worth the cost and effort , mostly effort, and lastly a wine pleasing to it's own natural profile. Time pasts and I entered my first local contest, at Gino's, total lost and I wondered why? Then I got smart and joined a wine club,35 members most all decent wine makers in their own right ,a few not so good and a few who excelled at winning contest, now I was on to something. When I ask why the competition one stated it was challenging and his question?, was he on the correct path to the wines profile and could he make it so that were every where he sent it, it would consistently score ,to him this was the end game ,to make a wine that people from the west coast to the middle of the country and back home in NEW JERSEY could say they understood what he's was doing and he was doing it well. So for me I was inspired not to make wine in a style (my way) but so that know matter where I send it or who I give it to I know unless something went terribly wrong in the bottle I was on course and could stand side by side with anyone in any contest do to the fact I have tested the wine and it came back with decent results (consistently).If contest aren't your thing that's ok, just remember your friends might not tell you the truth :ftabout your wines faults, that doesn't help fine tune you skills and abilities as a wine maker and that's why this forum is here to listen and inform, if possible ,for we are all cellar dwellers.as a foot note you can also make outstanding contacts throughout this country by sending a bottle of yourself to another to taste ,even if their are another 1,000 bottles being sent also.:dbcontest have their time and place learn to us them.
 
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dcbrown73

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The only winemakers club near my house I believe is a commercial one. (Shelter Rock Winery) One where you pay a lot more to make the same wine I will make at home.

So I have to ask myself. Is the meeting other winemakers worth the added expense vs talking with everyone here for the very small amount I donate to support this site each year. (even though it's not necessary, but I believe is supporting things that give me real value)
 

Kraffty

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"At what Cost?"..... it can be more than just the shipping and entry fees. I've advanced enough to really want feedback from experienced judges. Last years Cellar Masters notes said my super tuscan was all Oak. I like lots of oak but after reading the notes and tasting again I have to agree I over did it and it was really out of balance. Another set of notes on my '14 cab (juice and lug) all mentioned possible mercaptans or slight oxidation. It was very slight but they were right, there were off scents/flavors.

Today I ordered the Vinmetrica 100 assuming that my adding x-amounts of KMeta throughout the year with no idea of my SO2 levels probably contributed to my Cab problems. I have close to $1000.00 (shared with a friend) in grapes going right now and hopefully that investment at Cellar Masters Competition and the notes from it taught me it was time to spend a little more in equipment to monitor one more aspect of my process.

I'm thinking of opening about 3 gals of the cab, treating with reduless, getting the so2 levels correct then maybe blending with a few gallons of the Tuscan to reduce the Oak flavor and hopefully make a better wine from the two. If it works I'd say it was worth the extra Costs.

Oh, and I also like Shiny - Sparkly things too!

Mike
 

dcbrown73

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Couple of things.

When you submit a wine. Do you submit a red that is 2 years old, or a recent one?

Second, you said you will blend your current over-oaked wine with another wine to lower the oak in it. Though every place I've read said never blend a wine with issues with other "good" wine. Otherwise you risk having "more" wine with issues.

That said, an over-oaked wine may not be in that league of thinking since you are just trying to dilute the oak flavoring. Though, I have no experience or idea of that is correct or not.
 

joeswine

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All to often wines are submitted to contest t9 young it's been my experience only to enter wines at least 2 years of age.Pary wines such as Island Most kits about 1 year.When I mentioned wine clubs mine was local, SouthJersey Wine Club.
 

Kraffty

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Couple of things.

When you submit a wine. Do you submit a red that is 2 years old, or a recent one?

Second, you said you will blend your current over-oaked wine with another wine to lower the oak in it. Though every place I've read said never blend a wine with issues with other "good" wine. Otherwise you risk having "more" wine with issues.

That said, an over-oaked wine may not be in that league of thinking since you are just trying to dilute the oak flavoring. Though, I have no experience or idea of that is correct or not.

I'd say min 2 years, as joe said, probably more would be better but '14 was my first year using grapes. I'm thinking the oak is just a matter of Too much, not really a flaw, so yes I want to dilute the oak flavor just a bit.
 

joeswine

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Just remember judging is always subjective,you take it as a statement but not as the gosbil,good winemaker's always think outside the box.
 

NorCal

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Just remember judging is always subjective,you take it as a statement but not as the gosbil,good winemaker's always think outside the box.

My prior hobby was car restoration. I would bring the cars to shows and thought the same thing. It is the judges opinion and their personal bias, but fundamental good workmanship was indisputable. If I were building a car to be period correct, it wasn't better or worse than a "resto-mod" just different and subject to the judges preference.




I did get good feedback from last year, on my Cab Franc which was in a (very expensive) French Oak barrel. It didn't even receive a Bronze, while my other wines received Silvers. It was clearly over oaked, and as I really reflected, I understand what they were saying. However, there are people that love that wine and I only have a case or so left.
 

joeswine

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It all goes back to the individual, doesn't it , however,being true to your wines style and content is what it is all about.Or once a Ford always a Ford ,until you tweak it then it becomes your style Ford.Wine making to me is listing,doing and waiting to what the wine is asking of you.Then react accordingly.
 

cgallamo

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What kind of feedback did you get from the last time you entered. If it were me, and for the amount of wine you make, I would think having an expert opinion would be worth the $20. I guess it depends on if you feel you are able to assess your wines well enough to know how to improve them. That is where I come up short.

Congrats by the way on the silver medals!
 

joeswine

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The last time out I took a Best Of show and 4 silvers, lets talk about the silvers, on two of my entrées which I post all the results they missed gold by .5% in both cases was 2 out of3/// in another case 3 out of@4 judges...scored gold still didn't get there. In another contestI entered my coffee port one judge wrote back he didn't like coffee, so my score was not good,,2 out of 3 but still received silver. It's not all about the scoring, although it is .It's the feeling of accomplishment that you get from knowing you've done your best and this is the result, you may or may not like the result but there it is and there are other contest to explore. Never give up trying to ask yourselfis it good enough or what could I've do differently .Then see what other objective people think, being competitive is (not for everyone) but for those of us who are the challenge is always out there and always keep thinking outside the box.
 
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Johnd

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When I'm surfing WMT, I use the "New Posts" button at the top of the page, hit the little arrow next to the thread, and read the new replies to each thread, scroll back up to the top and hit the New Posts button again. Kind of a pain in the butt to scroll back to the top to hit the New Posts button, especially since I finish reading at the bottom of the thread. If the black bar at the top of the page was at the bottom too, that would save a lot of scrolling up on long threads......

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NorCal

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Judging is on a Saturday! Last year they were real quick with the results. I'll post the results and then the judges scorecards when I get them.
 

JohnT

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I would wish you luck, but luck has nothing to do with it. I am sure that you will be straining under the weight of medals!
 

grapeman

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Best of luck Norcal. I had to chuckle when you mentioned the high price of wine competitions with something like $20. The invites I get are quite a bit more and require more wine to be sent in. Here is part of an email I got today from one as an example.

YOU ARE INVITED!

TO ENTER YOUR TOP WINES!


IN AMERICA’S MOST FOOD FRIENDLY
WINE COMPETITION!



DenverWineComp_Logo_2017.jpeg


Call For Wine Entries!

Enter Now Online Via Enofile!



DETAILS:
Ship wines to arrive in Colorado before May 24, 2017
Entry fee:
$70 per entry
Bottles Required: 4-750ml
Winners receive physical award medals, actual scores & royalty free artwork!

 
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