San Antonio Regional Wine Guild
Wine Judging Certification


Dedicated to wine appreciation and amateur winemaking

SARWG Wine Judging Certification

Several years ago, our seven HWBTA-certified judges prepared a process for SARWG Home Wine Judge Certification. This process is based on the Home Wine and Beer Trade Association process, but consists of three distinct tests which can be performed at different times. The HWBTA's one-day test challenged not only your wine knowledge, but the judges' stamina as well. Having to make decisions on 60 different tastings in one day is a bit much, so our process is extended over a period of time.

The process is patterned after many other national wine judge certifications, but is more attuned to local and regional oeonophiles and related interests. As a basis for the process the currently active certified wine judges in the SARWG conduct the tests.

There are two types of certification--the Certified Home Wine Judge (CHWJ) and the Certified Wine Judge (CWJ). The first type (CHWJ) requires completion of three sub-tests which must be completed over a 12-month period. The three sub-tests are labeled test 1, 2 and 3, but do not need to be taken in order. The second type (CWJ) requires the completion of the same three subtests and an additional test (test 4) for varietal selection. At least two certified SARWG judges must administer and witness each test.

Test 1. Fault detection. Ten wines will be tasted with known faults. The aspirant must identify at least six of the faults correctly to pass the test. Faults will be typical type faults that are encountered by home winemakers.
Test 2. Consistency Test. Five different white wines will be tasted and ranked by the aspirant. Then, the same five wines will be presented and ranked again. The process will be repeated a third time. The aspirant must rank the five with no more than two bottles being out of place in the three rankings. The process is then repeated with five red wines.
Test 3. Wine Classification / Balance Analysis Test. For this test the aspirant will use the SARWG wine judging form. A selection of ten wines having specific class characteristics, such as a Rhine-style white wine, dessert wine, dry red wine, etc. will be tasted. The aspirant must correctly match at least seven of the wines to the correct class. The classes will be the same as designated in the SARWG by-laws for the semi-annual home wine competition (see classes, below).
Test 4. Wine Varietal Recognition Test. Ten different varietal wines will be sampled. The aspirant must correctly identify six of the varieties to pass. Five of the varietal wines will be home made and five will be commercial.

Passing any of the sub-tests qualified the aspirant as an Apprentice Wine Judge. When the first three sub-tests have been successfully passed, the aspirant will be awarded a certificate signed by the SARWG president and the Chief of the Certification process and will be known as a Certified Home Wine Judge. Upon completion of the test 4, a symbol of completion (to be determined by the current judges) will be presented to the aspirant and he or she shall be recognized as a Certified Wine Judge.

A fee to cover expenses for each test will be assessed the aspirant before beginning each test.

The classes used in the semi-annual SARWG competions are as follows:

  • Red Grape - Dry
  • Red Grape - Sweet
  • White Grape - Dry
  • White Grape - Sweet
  • Native Grape - Dry
  • Native Grape - Sweet
  • Fruit - Dry
  • Fruit - Sweet
  • Berry - Dry
  • Berry - Sweet
  • Novelty - Dry
  • Novelty - Sweet
  • Ros? - Dry
  • Ros? - Sweet
  • Blended Wine - Dry
  • Blended Wine - Sweet
  • Sparkling Wine
  • Dessert/Aperitif

Home Page Officers Activities Competitions
Judging Certification Judges Recipes
Links Members Input Join

This page was updated June 16th, 2000 by
SARWG's appointed webmaster, Jack Keller