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Amateur Wine Competition


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The 2018 Amateur Wine Competition will be held Oct. 30 - Oct. 31 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, NY 


Whether vinifying at home or eager to go commercial, amateur winemakers have always been a large part of the American Wine Society. In the last 50 years, dozens of AWS amateur winemakers have opened up successful commercial establishments.   From its earliest days, the American Wine Society has celebrated and honored the craft of amateur winemakers. The AWS continues to host one of the longest-running and most-respected national amateur wine competitions in the world. 

When you submit your wines to the AWS AWC you can count on the following: 

  • Open-minded critique from people experienced and trained to evaluate a broad range of styles including cool climate varieties, fruit wines, ciders and meads.  
  • Valuable feedback from trained wine judges who take the time to evaluate the characteristics of your wine. 
  • A celebration of your work as part of the AWS National Conference in the Amateur Wine Experience where winners are revealed and in the subsequent Awards Luncheon, where top winners are announced.

AWS members receive a discount on entries.



Amateur Competition Links

Competitions Website 

Competition Brochure (pdf)



         2017 AWS Amateur Wine Competition Results


Medals Awarded by Winemaker Name 



 Best in Class Awards


 Best in Show                   

 2016 Apple Cider Ice Wine

Luke Capotosto & Barbara Mederios 

Cranston, RI 

 Best White Vinifera 

2016 Dry Kerner

Rett Oren

Bethlehem, PA

Best Red Vinifera 

2016 Cab Sauv, Zin, and Petite Sirah 

Richard Wowk 

Clarks Green, PA 

 Best Hybrid 

2016 Dry Chambourcin

Rett Oren 

Bethlehem, PA 

 Best Native 

2017 Catawba / Cayuga 

James Talerico

Exeter, PA 

 Best Fruit 

2016 Red Raspberry / Strawberry

Marion L. Krauss

Seven Valleys, Pa

 Best Dessert

2016 Catawba 

Lamont Beers

Eden, NY 

 Best Ice/Late Harvest 

2016 Apple Cider Ice Wine 

Luke Capostosto & Barbara Mederios

Cranston, RI

 Best Rosé 

2016 Muscat Rosé 

Gordon Gribble

Lebanon, NH

 Best Mead

Apple Honey Mead 

Dan Scheffler, Dumore, PA 

 Best Fortified

 2016 Raspberry Chocolate Port 

Richard Wowk, Clarks Green PA. 

Best Label  

Lloyd Arlint

Las Vegas, NV 


About the AWS Amateur Wine Competition 


An AWS amateur wine competition has been an integral part of the National Conference for almost as long as the Society has existed.


In the late 1960s, the Society’s founders addressed home winemakers interests in the organization’s first "Constitution.” The founders stated that a purpose of AWS shall be "to foster the production of wine by home winemakers and to provide means for such amateurs to meet to exchange information and experience, and to compare and judge their products”.

A competition evolved as an opportunity for AWS home winemakers to showcase their creations and have them judged by their peers. Today the competition requires year-long preparation, dedicated volunteers, and a refined system of computers and human resources to handle operational details. To cover costs of the program, participating wine makers are charged an entry fee.

All wines entered in the Amateur Competition are evaluated, blind and by consensus, by the same top-rated professional judges overseeing the Commercial Wine Competition. These judges are chosen from a broad range of industry experts and include those trained and certified by the American Wine Society, many who are current or former home wine makers.

Judges use the same guidelines and evaluation techniques that are applied to the Commercial Wine Competition with one important difference: the score sheets and critique comments are returned to the amateur winemakers.  These written comment sheets are often more valuable to the amateur winemaker than winning an award, as they can include suggestions on how to make improvements or enhance the characteristics of the wines. This very useful service making the AWS Amateur Competition an instructive tool as well as an awards program.  In addition, the Society provides a database for home winemakers, tracking progress from year to year.

Winning wines receive AWS medals, posting on the AWS website and publicity in AWS Publications. 

Best of Class award winners are recognized in a press release and an awards ceremony at the National Conference as well.  





Amateur Wine Competition Chairs
Melissa Bartlett

Larry Jackson 







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