AWS Certified Wine Judges

AWS Cerified Wine Judges complete a rigorous 3 year program, designed to train the individual in the basic tools to objectively evaluate wines.  Judges are available to participate in any recognized amateur or commercial wine competition. Using these judges adds credibility to an event since entrants know their wines will receive accurate, fair, and consistent evaluation by highly skilled judges.  The Program is open to AWS members.

Wine Judge Study Topics

Year 1: Essentials of Wine Evaluation: includes vocabulary, components, appearance, aroma, flavors, taste, texture, components, balance, flaws, as well as objective evaluation and scoring.
Year 2: Factors Affecting Wine Quality and Variety Identification; includes the influence of viticultural (grape growing) and enological (winemaking) practices, variety characterization and identification, wine styles, wine components and flaws, and objective evaluation and scoring.
Year 3: Judging of Wine Styles; includes classes and types of wines, blending, judging environment, wine components, wine competitions, and objective evaluation and scoring.


Participation in the Wine Judge Certification Program (WJCP) requires:
-Successful completion of the entrance exam;
-Attendance each of the three years at an intensive one day class held the Thursday of AWS National Conference week;
-Considerable self-study, practice, and preparation, including a monthly conference call and judging practice, and a list of resources, references and practices is provided;
-Successful completion of the exam for each year prior to moving to the next year of study, including written, tasting, identification of component/balance/flaw;
-Participation as a judge in two competitions in the three year period and managing one competition in the three year period;
-Continuing Education after certification is completed.

Cost and More information

The cost is $150 per year, plus an additional $50 fee for year 3 exam.  Request more information by emailing:  wjcp@americanwinesociety.org


It just so happens that the Regional VP is one of three locals who are in year 3 of this program.  We meet monthly to taste and judge wines, as well as test each other on aromas and faults, and we even solicit bad wines to practice fault identification.  In addition, we are part of the team that manages the wine and beer competition for the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.  If judging appeals to you, or you would like more information about the WJCP program, please contact Dawne at info@awsnorthwest.org or (253) 225-1985.