Trade buyers who have daily interactions with consumers are the best people to rank products. They are constantly checking in with the market to ensure that their buying decisions line up with what the consumer wants and what will sell, based upon quality and price. Their livelihoods depend on it–a wrong buying decision means that products gather dust on shelves and have negative impacts on their bottom lines.

The Press and other non-buyers/professional tasters do not have access to this valuable information. Our experienced trade buyers will sample a product and one of three things may happen. The first is “I personally like it…but it won’t sell”. The second is “I personally don’t like it…but it will sell”. The third is “I like it and it will sell”. This feedback is invaluable to other buyers, who have come to rely on our awards to make their own buying decisions.

All of the wines in our competition are judged within their appropriate price range because our judges are deciding whether or not each product will sell in their local market. Price is a very big factor in determining value for the consumer, and it is information that they would consider when making a real buying decision. We wanted our judging to be as close to the real-world buying process as possible, so we provide our judges with the actual retail price of each product in order to gain the most accurate insights from them.

Our trade-only judges award medals based upon the following criteria:

  • Bronze Medal– Our judges will sell it, distribute it and or import it
  • Silver Medal– Our judges really like it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.
  • Gold Medal– Our judges love it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.
  • Double Gold– All of the judges on the panel award it a Gold Medal

For more details, check out our Judging Process

After we review all the medal winners we will poll the judges for their opinion on the possibility of awarding other awards. If no one qualifies, the medal will not be awarded. If a product merits it, we sometimes award:
“Vinegar” of the Year”
“Distributor of the Year”
“Importer of the Year”

No. If no vinegar qualifies for a medal then no medal is awarded in that category.

We believe our vinegar competition offers several things to a winning producer and or importer:

This is a trade-only judging panel made up of professionals who are well respected by their peers in the industry.
You are placing your vinegar in front of a trade buyer who makes buying decisions!
We are holding it in one of the biggest food markets in the world…United States.
We work with our media sponsors to distribute the results to the trade and to consumers. All the winners will be listed here on our website.
The USIVC gives winners who are not currently imported or distributed in the United States the opportunity to be discovered.
We do not charge winning vinegar producers and their importers the use of our medals in their marketing materials.
You are only charged once when you submit your product. There are no additional charges or hidden fees when you enter.

Because we believe in full transparency, the judges immediately receive the results of the olive oils they judge. We then request that the judges refrain from sharing who the winners are with people outside of the judging group until the formal announcements are made

We will contact the winning producers shortly after the competition ends to share with them the good news along their medal images and additional information about the competition

The judges are recognized trade buyers who buy for a living.. These buyers are importers, retail store buyers, chefs in restaurants and hotels, and distributors. We try to make our judging panels as diverse as possible, because we believe each expert brings a different perspective to the judging process on what the consumer wants.

The trade buyer judges receive a stipend for their time tasting the samples. They may also receive additional swag from the competition recognizing their participation

We take great pride in saying NO! There are no charges for the use of winning medal images in your marketing materials..

Winners have the opportunity to purchase authorized medal stickers for their bottles and packaging through our printing company. Winners also have the option of purchasing a medal image license if self producing the medal images on their bottles and packaging.

This is a great opportunity to present your product to actual buyers if you plan to enter the United States market,one of the largest food buying regions in the world. 

We do not list all of the producers who participated. We will announce how many vinegars were submitted, from how many countries, in how many categories and how many won medals. This is still a subjective process and we only announce the winning products.

The owners of the USIVC have no ownership of any food companies, distributors, restaurants, bars or restaurants.

We receive no financial compensation from any vinegar company outside of the submission fees for their brands. We do not accept any advertising dollars either.

We do not have a customs broker nor do we expect an issue shipping vinegar

We do accept wire transfer and there is a $15 banking fee attached to it. Please email us at for our banking information.

Yes. We encourage large food and vinegar organizations as well as trade offices to contact us directly for any additional support or assistance they need to submit their vinegars. We offer special rates for organizations and consortiums who participate in our programs. Please visit our Contact Page to find out how to reach out to us, or email us at

In the event that the judging is not held, a portion of the fees will be refunded, based on the amount paid minus a pro rata share of the expenses for establishing and maintaining entry files.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Competition shall not be liable for failure to perform caused by an act of God, fire, flood, wind, rain, storm, electrical failure, strike, labor dispute, riot, insurrection, war or other causes beyond its control.