About Our Process

The Pinot Noir Shootout is the most comprehensive and focused tasting of Pinot Noir in the US, utilizing an incredibly diverse tasting panel comprised of wine industry professionals from varying disciplines including restaurant and retail trade, winemakers, wine writers, wine bloggers, wine educators, and viticulturalists.

The process and manner utilized by Affairs of the Vine for assessing and judging entries is unique within competitions in that it employs the following procedures:

All wines are tasted blind. (How could you ever do it differently?)

All wines are tasted without reference to producer, appellation or price.

Each wine is judged and reviewed on its own merit.

All wines are tasted by at least two tasting panels before the finals.

A maximum of 32 wines is tasted per day – four flights of eight wines each. We have arrived at this formula and find that in this format, each wine can be tasted with clarity and concentration without palate fatigue.

The wines are rated using a 100 point scale. Copious notes are required and the notes and the ratings must have continuity or the scores are not recorded.

Although we would prefer not to use a point system to rate the wines, we have not come up with an alternative method that allows us to select the top wines that are tasted by our final panel and those tasted at the Pinot Noir Summit.

For the Pinot Noir Shootout Finals, the wines were placed into flights and evaluated by teams of judges over a period of two months. The top 64 wines selected were then submitted to two final tasting panels for review. Each panel tasted only 32 wines.