2021 Official SWIG Wine Competition Rules


13th Annual Wine Competition

Saturday, June 12, 2021 – JUDGING

Sunday, June 13, 2021 – AWARDS PICNIC


The SWiG Wine Competition Committee wishes to thank you for your interest in entering our 13th Annual SWiG Wine Competition on Saturday, June 12, 2021, and the awards ceremony and picnic on Sunday, June 13, 2021, which will be hosted by Jim and Marcia Compton at their home in Boiling Springs, PA. We desire to form a platform for producing the best wines in the competition. Therefore, the Wine Competition Committee has worked diligently to ensure this document includes all the forms, instructions, and general information you will need to submit your wine entries. Please visit the website at2021 Official SWIG Wine Competition Rules – Susquehanna Winemakers Guild (swguildpa.com) for the rules and to print a copy. Please visit the 2021 Official SWIG Wine Competition Form – Susquehanna Winemakers Guild (swguildpa.com) for the competition registration form which will need to be presented with your entry. All questions can be directed to the Wine Competition Committee Chairman, Mel Heffley, at melancy@pa.net or (717) 275-5347. Please leave a message and he will get back to you.

The Competition Committee shall reserve the right to photograph any entry and reproduce it in catalogs, posters, publications, or on our website, and in publicity issued by the Competition.

The Wine Competition Committee reserves the right to change terms and conditions at any time.



The goal of the Susquehanna Winemakers’ Guild is to initiate and develop a stable wine judging competition for amateurs to submit their home wines. We do this with a focus on building a venture where no amateur-developed wine is excluded. This competition also seeks to increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the amateur winemaker in an educational way not previously done. We encourage non-members to join the Susquehanna Winemakers’ Guild and share their craft with others in the Guild.


  1. Only amateur winemakers are eligible. Amateur is considered as a person/persons not employed full-time by a commercial winery in winemaking capacity.
  2. Applicants must be 21 years of age or older to enter.
  3. The winemaker need not be a member of SWiG to enter. However, if interested in joining, please visit the website at JOIN SWIG – Susquehanna Winemakers Guild (swguildpa.com) for information to join.
  4. All entrants shall be eligible to attend the Awards Picnic the following day (Cost will be extra for non-members to cover food. Please see Entry Form for information)


  1. Wine entries can be dropped off Friday, June 11 between 5:00 and 8:00 PM and on Saturday, June 12, 2021, between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM.
  2. Any late entry will be subject to a one-dollar ($1.00) penalty. There will be no acceptance of entries after the judges begin opening the first bottle for judging.
  3. There will be one (1) collection site to drop off wine entries for the competition – Don and Joan Hopler, 920 Cranes Gap Rd., Carlisle, PA 17013. Please call (717) 448-8370 to plan your scheduled drop-off time and for directions to the correct building on the property. Please note – there will be a cooler for the white wines and others that need to be kept cold.
  4. If there is anyone outside the local area who wishes to enter their wine but must ship them to the competition, please see the following special notice:


Special Notice

Please note that it is illegal and inadvisable to ship wines via the US Postal Service. If you are unable to ship via FedEx, UPS, or DHL, you might try visiting your local commercial winery for shipping your wine entries. If your wine is boxed, labeled, and ready to go, they may be willing to assist you in shipping your wine to us (please send to SWiG Wine Competition c/o Don Hopler, 920 Cranes Gap Road, Carlisle, PA. 17013. Also, plan to pay the shipping fee).

  1. Each entry shall consist of one (1) 750ml bottle of wine. Please bring a bottle of your entry with you to the Awards Picnic to display and share with others. Notice that Class 700 can be in 375ml bottles. All bottles are required to be labeled with the year of fermentation, name of grape/grapes, fruit/fruits, or other fermented items, and should be enclosed with cork, synthetic cork, screw cap, or sparkling closure The same wine can be entered into multiple categories of that year but must be a separate entry for each bottle. There is no limit to the number of wines to enter the competition. All bottles shall be returned to the entrant after the Award Presentations.

No wine may be produced with the help of the facilities of a commercial winery, however, crushed grapes and unfermented juice bought from a commercial winery is acceptable.

  1. Once a wine has been entered and wins a medal or is the Grand Champion, it cannot be entered in future competitions.
  2. Each entry shall consist of one bottle at five dollars ($5) for members and eight dollars ($8) for non-members. The entry shall consist of one (1) bottle per category. You may enter the same wine for other categories but must submit a separate entry form and bottle for each category along with payment. All checks should be written out to SWiG or Susquehanna Winemakers Guild with the “2021 Wine Competition” in the Note section.




  1. Judging shall consist of at least three (3) judges, though more can be added. However, judges shall not compete in the competition.
  2. One (1) judge shall be elected as Chair for all contested decisions should any occur. That judge shall be elected by the judges before tasting begins.
  3. Judging shall be based on the American Wine Society Score Sheet. It shall consist of Aroma, Appearance, Bouquet, Taste and Texture, Aftertaste, and Overall Impression.
  4. All bottles shall be covered before judging so that the winemaker’s wine is not distinguishable from the judges during the tasting.
  5. The judges reserve the right to move any wine to a more appropriate category as they see fit.
  6. All decisions of the judges are final.
  7. Judges must add comments to help encourage winemakers. There shall be no “Objectionable or Derogatory” comments written on Score Sheet.
  8. Scoring shall be by the American Wine Society Score Sheet which consists of the following points:

APPEARANCE  (Total Points Possible: 3)

3 pts – Excellent: Brilliant with outstanding characteristic color

2 pts – Good: Clear with characteristic color

1 pt –  Poor: Slight haze and/or slightly off-color

0 pts – Objectionable: Cloudy and/or off-color

AROMA AND BOUQUET: (Total Points Possible: 6)

6 pts – Extraordinary: Wow Wine! Memorable aroma and bouquet

5 pts – Excellent: Characteristic aroma, complex bouquet – well balanced

4 pts – Good: Characteristic aroma – distinguishable bouquet

3 pts – Acceptable: Slight aroma and bouquet – pleasant

2 pts – Deficient: No perceptible aroma and bouquet or with slight off odors

1 pt –  Poor: Off odors

0 pts – Objectionable: Offensive odors

TASTE AND TEXTURE: (Total Points Possible: 6)

6 pts – Extraordinary: Memorable in the mouth, balanced, smooth, full-bodied and overwhelming

5 pts – Excellent: All the above but a little less – excellent but not overwhelming

4 pts – Good: Balanced, smooth – it may have minor imperfections

3 pts – Acceptable: Pleasant – may have minor off-flavors, be slightly out of balance, thin or rough

2 pts – Deficient: More pronounced faults than above

1 pt –  Poor: Disagreeable flavors, poorly balanced, and/or unpleasant texture

0 pts – Objectionable: Offensive flavors and/or texture

AFTERTASTE: (Total Points Possible: 3)

3 pts – Excellent: Lingering outstanding aftertaste – Unforgettable!

2 pts – Good: Pleasant aftertaste

1 pt –  Little or no distinguishable aftertaste

0 pts – Objectionable: Unpleasant aftertaste

OVERALL IMPRESSION: (Total Points Possible: 2)

2 pts – Excellent

1pt  –  Good

0 pts – Poor



Medals shall be awarded to the highest score of each of the (7) categories. The 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place finishers shall be the top three-point totals, provided they meet the minimum American Wine Society guidelines below. Honorable Mentions shall be announced at the picnic should judges feel it is worthy of notice, regardless of the score. The Grand Champion will be determined by all Class Division Winners. All money received shall be used to pay for Medals, Ribbons and Fees required to run this competition, and one-half of the money left over shall be appropriately divided up among the Medal Winners and Grand Champion Winner percentage-wise.

All scores shall be tallied and awarded according to the American Wine Society’s Medal scoring. The Wine Competition Committee reserves the right to change scoring if needed.

Highest score of each class that meets the First Place conditions – Medal

17.00 – 20 points – 1st Place Ribbon

15.00 – 16.99 points – 2nd Place Ribbon

13.00 – 14.99 points – 3rd Place Ribbon

Less than 13 points – No Medal or Ribbon

All entries and scoresheets with judges’ comments shall be returned to the entrants after the Awards Presentation. A complete list of entries shall be posted on the SWiG website following the Awards Presentation Picnic. All Medal Winners and Grand Champion shall be announced at the Awards Presentation Picnic the following day. Pictures (if present at the awards ceremony) will be taken with your name for posting on the SWiG website or other media avenues to support the SWiG Wine Competition.

The Grand Champion Cup shall be presented to the winemaker with a highest overall score. Should the winner be a NON-Member, The Committee has decided for the safety of the Cup being returned for future competitions, that the NON-Member (If present at the awards ceremony) shall have their picture taken with the Cup for posterity reasons. The Cup then shall be presented to the highest member to hold for one year. However, any money for the Grand Champion winner shall be presented to the non-member. The Grand Champion shall host the trophy for one year and return it two weeks before the competition for any clean-up for the presentation at the next competition. Should two (2) or more wines tie for Best Overall Score, the Chair Judge’s decision shall prevail.

The Wine Competition Committee shall pay out a percentage of money received from the Competition to medal winners. Such amounts will be determined by the number of entries received and the percentage agreed upon by the Wine Competition Committee. This will be decided after the competition ends.

To help promote local grape growers of the Pennsylvania area, there will be an award given to the best Local Grape Grower who has the highest total score in the Competition. Please enter your purchase of grapes with your entry form.



CLASS 100          Dry Red Grape                (Please enter where grapes were purchased)

110 – Red Varietal (must contain 85% of grape)

120 – Red Blend (2 or more grapes)

130 – Red Based Kit

CLASS 200        Dry White Grape              (Please enter where grapes were purchased)

210 – White Varietal (must contain 85% of grape)

220 – White Blend (2 or more grapes)

230 – White Based Kit

CLASS 300        Sweet Red Grape              (Please enter where grapes were purchased)

310 – Red Varietal (must contain 85% of grape)

320 – Red Blend (2 or more grapes)

330 – Red Based Kit

CLASS 400           Sweet White Grape        (Please enter where grapes were purchased)____

410 – White Varietal (must contain 85% of grape)

420 – White Blend (2 or more grapes)

430 – White Based Kit

CLASS 500          Fruit__________________________________________________________

510 – Stone

520 – Berry

530 – Other (Blends, Kits, anything not fitting categories)

610 – Varietal (must contain 85% of grape)

620 – Blends   (Please state grape varieties)

                        630 – Blush, Kits and Concentrates

CLASS 700          Unique/Other (These can be in 375ml bottles)________________________

710 – Dessert

720 – Plant/Grain/Vegetable (with /without Grape Blend)

730 – Honey (Mead, Cyser or other Honey-based wines)

740 – Cider (please specify Apple, Pear, etc.)