Wine evaluation is one of the benchmark activities of FBV. As an organization, many our members have been trained in wine evaluation since 2010. The focus of our wine evaluation is the consumer. That is not to say that we are an organization of experts, but we can say that our members can sit down with a small pour of wine and evaluate appearance, nose and taste and make a highly informed judgement about the wine. Our trained panels of consumer wine evaluators can do the same thing with even more precision. We do not view this as a mysterious process. We view it as a controlled process that many people can participate in. We believe we can identify wines that consumers will relish and enjoy. Several of our evaluators are American Wine Society Certified.
We feature regular wine evaluation training and tasting experiences. An important part of that process is the dialogue that occurs about all the wine that is tasted.
The stages of the process of evaluation are:
Aroma & Bouquet
Taste & Finish
We were asked develop an evaluation process that would result in FBV being able to select quality wines from a diverse selection. To do this we introduced a modified Davis Card to our evaluators and trained them in the use of this evaluative criteria. Since that first experience we have also evaluated non-professional wines submitted for competition at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival. During this period of time we implemented our head judge and table captain components and established the conditions for all formal wine tasting. The conditions are as follows:
- All tasting will be blind with only the type and year known
- All palates will be clear for at least two hours before an evaluation
- Fragrances will not be worn
- No interaction between evaluators will occur until the judging of a wine is finished
- All evaluators will be trained in house
- All glasses used will be our own that are properly washed prior to use
- Palate cleansers will be used between tastings
- Based on our results we have further refined our use of the elements of the Davis card
- Table captains will also be used at our evaluations
- A head judge will supervise, monitor, and plan all evaluations
There is nothing radically new about any of our procedures, but we do seek to maintain uniformity in our evaluations. We do this during training and we also actively dialogue about the wines we use during training and tasting events. In the months to come, we will start expanding our tasting experiences by using an expanded group of wine types and working to identify our most discriminating tasters for use during BOTA evaluation sessions.
We have also expanded our evaluation skills to include hard cider. We train our cider judges using criteria similar to the Davis Card that have been adjusted to meet the needs of cider. Our first cider evaluation was at CiderFestNC 14.