So how do those gold, silver and bronze medals get onto wine bottles? It takes a lot of sniffing, swirling and spitting to get there…
Australia has over 40 wine shows a year, ranging from the prestigious capital city and national show to more focused, boutique affairs. Shows use judges to assess wines – these are industry experts in white coats who look not unlike nerdy lab geeks, just with more stains on their teeth.
In truth, it is a rigorous process. Wines are assessed in categories, or grape varieties and styles. They are tasted masked, which means the judges don't know who the producers are, they are just presented with a range of glasses with wines in them. The judges then give scores out of 20, with a break down of 3 points for colour, 7 points for the aromas and 10 points for the flavour.
Bronze medal wines are awarded between 15.5 and 16.9 points, silver 17 to 18.4 and the coveted gold medals between 18.5 and 20. Trophies are then given to the best gold medal wines.
However the absence of medals doesn't mean that the wine is bad, usually this means they haven't entered the competitions, often because their production is small or they have a loyal client base anyway. Medals are just an additional feather-in-the-cap for many producers.
Meanwhile, those that win lots of medals across different shows can generally be said to be good or great wines. The winemakers who win lots of awards generally have pretty big mantelpieces or poolrooms to collect all their shiny awards…