The goal of the new Sommeliers Choice Awards is simple: to provide on-premise buyers and sommeliers a valuable benchmark for understanding which wines would make a compelling addition to a wine list.
The judging panel of the Sommeliers Choice Awards will consist entirely of top sommeliers, on-premise wine buyers and wine directors at U.S. restaurants, bars, pubs, and clubs. In order to be selected as a judge, sommeliers need to provide evidence of their expertise within the on-premise industry. In some cases, these sommeliers may also be wine consultants for on-premise establishments. They may also have a buying role in addition to working on the restaurant floor.
Medals will be awarded to those wines that meet very specific judging criteria, with a goal of identifying wines that should become additions to restaurant wine lists. Wines will be judged according to criteria such as how well they pair with food items in addition to their overall versatility. Highest marks will be awarded to wines that provide value for money at their respective price points. Judges know the trade prices of each wine as they are judging each flight. The number one question that sommeliers will be attempting to answer as they judge wines is: “Would we stock this?”