Judging Panel Information

  • The judging process for the US International Vinegar Competition is very thorough
  • Samples will first be delivered and inspected by our Head Judge Michael Harlan Turkell
  • Once the samples have been vetted they will then be shipped directly to each trade buyer judge to be judged virtually
  • Trade Buyers will have a week to blind taste the samples and then their results will be reviewed by our head judge


  • Info about awards
  • Award levels are Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
    • Double Gold: Phenomenal Product (Must Be Unanimous Decision by Panelists)
    • Gold: Buyers “Love” It
    • Silver: Buyers “Like” It
    • Bronze: Buyers would purchase it
  • Double Gold award winners will be re-tasted by all panelists to establish which brands may be eligible to receive a ‘Best of Category’ endorsement in its pricing category
  • There are opportunities to win individual awards once the awards have been awarded by the trade buyer judges
Double Gold Medal
Gold Medal
Silver Medal
Bronze Medal

Judging Process

  • If the judges are faced with an obviously flawed bottle of a product, no more than one additional bottle of the same entry will be opened and tasted.
  • The tasting order of entries is set in our database first by panel, then category. Large categories are randomly split by the database so that no panel is asked to taste more than 80 products in the same category.
  • Wines are presented to judges in coded glasses. No bottles are visible to judges at any time until the competition is finished. Staff members are strictly forbidden from discussing any brand names, whether entered or not in the competition.
  • The decision of the judges is final and no changes are made to awards after the judging is complete. Judges receive a copy of the code sheets of the wines they judged with awards noted, so they are able to compare our records with their notes from the judging.