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Texsom International Wine Awards Submission Deadline Approaching

by Elaine Chukan Brown
February 07, 2019

Photo Credit: Texsom IWA

Texsom International Wine Awards (Texsom IWA) has extended its submission deadline until February 10. Entries can now be registered by Feb 10 through the Texsom IWA website. Entered wines must be shipped and received at Texsom IWA by Feb 12. The submission fee during this period is $105. The deadline was extended due to the inconveniences of the recent government shut down as well as unusually cold weather across the United States in January. Late expedited entries can be submitted and received to Texsom IWA by February 14 for a fee of $145.

Texsom IWA has been recognized as one of the most important wine competitions in the United States, with uniquely high consistency in determining quality among wines. In a study reported in the Journal of Wine Economics in 2017, Texsom IWA was considered the most selective of wine competitions examined. A smaller proportion of gold medals were awarded at Texsom IWA than other competitions, but those awarded were considered a stronger arbiter of high quality. The study also showed, that the evaluation procedures followed at Texsom IWA were more rigorous than other competitions.

Director, James Tidwell MS, credits both the caliber and camaraderie of judges, as well as the rigorous verification process for wines entered as helping to set Texsom IWA apart.

“The goal at Texsom IWA is to present the right wine, in the right place, at the right time, to the right person, and in the best possible condition,” says Tidwell. The caliber of judges for Texsom IWA surpasses that seen from any other US-based competition. Sixty to seventy judges are selected each year from countries around the world, reflecting the truly international nature of wines submitted. Approximately one-third of judges are Masters of Wine, one-third Master Sommeliers, and the remaining third top writers, educators, and other category experts. “That all of them enjoy the collegial atmosphere while adhering to the rigorous standard of judging is what truly makes the judging special,” says Tidwell.

Verification of wines for Texsom IWA also surpasses expectations. “Information for each wine is verified eight different times prior to judging, starting at receipt of the wine, and continuing through to the moment the wines are poured for the judges,” says Tidwell. “Likewise, after judging, the wines are verified in a three-stage process. This ensures that the wines have the best opportunity to excel in the blind tasting, and that the wine tasted and – if awarded a medal – the wine promoted is the wine intended by the entrant. The goal is to identify quality wines and promote them. A thorough process guarantees this.”

Photo Credit: Texsom IWA

Wines at Texsom IWA can receive three levels of medal recognition – bronze, silver, or gold, as well as an additional exemplary recognition of Judges’ Selection for wines that “demonstrate quality and character that are unique even among their medal-winning peers.”

While the medals awarded through Texsom IWA are highly regarded among competitions, what makes Texsom IWA truly unique is its association with the accompanying Sommelier Retreat. “The Sommelier Retreat is unique amongst wine competitions and fulfills the educational mission of Texsom,” says Tidwell. “Fifty top sommeliers from around the United States and Canada are invited to participate in an event that offers practical experience in the theory, tasting, and service of wine.”

Sommeliers selected attend training seminars, individualized tasting sessions with Master Sommelier mentors, and also writing training with industry mentors. Experts from the judging panel lead seminars for the attending sommeliers. Top writers mentor sommeliers in writing tasting notes for the medal-winning wines, which are then published in the guide to Texsom IWA recognized wines distributed at the summer Texsom educational event (

Sommeliers attending the retreat are uniquely positioned during Texsom IWA judging. Judges taste all wines blind, and do not know medal winners until after they are announced publicly. However, as part of their training, Sommelier Retreat attendees taste and see all medal winning wines, write their associated tasting notes, and review them through their own tasting exercises.

“Since the participants of the Sommelier Retreat are not judges,” says Tidwell, “they can taste any wine in the competition. In addition, they taste all gold medal-winning wines after the wines have been judged.”

Photo Credit: Texsom IWA

As a result, as top sommeliers and buyers from across North America, attendees of the Sommelier Retreat are in the best position to influence buying decisions in their respective markets immediately from their experiences at the retreat. In this way, the wines submitted to Texsom IWA benefit not only from the possibility of medal recognition, but also by getting in front of some of the most talented in North America from the service and retail industry.

For more information on how to submit wines, visit the Texsom IWA website. Electronic entries must be received by February 10. Wines must be received to Texsom IWA by February 12.

Full disclosure: Elaine Chukan Brown has served as a Texsom IWA judge since 2015. She also leads seminars for the Sommelier Retreat.

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