This is the problem facing any wine retailer, bar owner, producer or restaurant trying to sell wine around the world. Only 18% know what to do when it comes buying wine. According to the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, only 3% of them would consider themselves connoisseurs.

For most people buying wine is like entering a minefield. All you want to do is make it through it safely. You want someone to hold your hand and guide you, so you can find the right bottle for you, and at a price that you are happy paying.

This is the USA wine rating competition. All wine lovers, regardless of their level of knowledge, have the opportunity to rate a wine based on the medal it won. According to research by Sonoma State University, a medal, whether it’s a Gold, Silver or Bronze, can make a big difference in a wine’s appearance on a table or on the wine list.

However, not all medals and ratings are judged on the same criteria. It is therefore important to understand what a specific competition or event rewards a wine for.

The eyes of the consumer

For example, the USA Wine Ratings competition was created to assess wine the same way that average consumers would. It is based on its cost, how it looks on the shelf and how it tastes. These three factors are all considered when deciding which wine medal to be given.

This is totally contrary to the way that most international wine competitions are organised. They believe that the most important criteria is how the wine tastes and what score it receives from its judges. That’s it.

This is where the USA Wine Ratings competition begins. All wines are judged blindly, just like all other competitions. This ensures that judges aren’t influenced by price, country or region. The judges are required to see the label and packaging of the wine so they can assess how it tastes and looks. According to research by Sonoma State University, price is the most important factor in the lives of 80% consumers.

Another academic paper has shown how critical it is to have the right packaging and labels for wine, as in all consumer goods categories. In their study on wine consumer decision-making, Nelson Barber MS, and Barbara Almanza concluded that brand and country of origin were the most important labels. Wine style and descriptions, however, were less important.


The USA Wine Ratings competition judges are also here. Every member of the judging board has professional wine buying experience. They are responsible for deciding which wines will be sold in bars, restaurants, and retail shops across the country.

These wine buyers have the knowledge, experience, and know-how to identify the quality of a wine and to then determine its price and how it compares to the packaging and label being used to promote it.

There are three sides to a coin, which will determine the type of medal that wine should be awarded.

The judges of USA Wine Ratings are proud to participate in an event that reflects their work. They have to make tough commercial decisions every day when evaluating the 1000s of wine bottles that come into their offices.

It is possible for judges to make a significant impact on the fortunes and success of wines that are awarded medals. Research from around the globe has shown that the sales of gold-medal-winning wines can rise by as much as 200%, while some wines can grow by almost 700%.

Producers get a boost

This is why wine producers are willing to enter their wines in competitions that they believe will be of benefit, as it is an important part of their year-end marketing and promotional activities.

Producers can gain the proof they need to raise their prices by winning a gold medal. The American Association of Wine Economists has found that Bordeaux wine producers have raised their prices as high as 19% after winning a gold-medal, an average price rise of 13%.

The USA Wine Ratings was created to assist consumers regardless of their wine knowledge in order to make better buying decisions. A professional wine buyer has given a wine a score based on its price, quality, and value. This is much more comforting than simply relying on your gut feeling.