Benchmark Tasting Plan

The purpose of this tasting is to allow wine producers to assess their wines against others within the region and against benchmark wines from elsewhere. These benchmarks are wines that are of comparable style, from regions that can be valuably compared, and which are known to be of good quality and/or successful in the market place.  (A modified version can be used for individual wine companies.) This takes place in a completely non-threatening way (see below). I chair the tasting, usually accompanied by a second taster, draw comments from the participants and give (hopefully) objective opinions.

The tasting is arranged as follows:

  1. A suitable venue chosen, with good tasting facilities, light etc. Eight glasses per person are required.
  2. Participants entering wines are given a code number and wines are grouped into brackets by variety and, if necessary, age.
  3. Each wine attracts a small fee, perhaps $30, to cover costs of the event. Each participating taster may also be levied a fee.
  4. Wines are tasted in small brackets, maximum eight wines, numbered 1 to x.  The chair draws comments from the participants and gives his/her own comments. Only then are the producer’s code number for each wine and the benchmark wine(s) revealed. 
  5. At no stage is a wine’s identity revealed, other than the benchmark wines, unless a producer chooses to volunteer this.  This allows a non-threatening environment for all producers.
  6. The style of tasting works well, as it brings different types of opinion – expert and less informed, technical and lay.
  7. To allow for plenty of discussion time and for the limited tasting experience of some tasters, the maximum number of wines in a 9am to 5pm day should be about 60.

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