Challenge Rules





  • Registrants will automatically receive a 7-digit random I.D. number when you register.  This is your identification number at the Challenge as well as when you receive your results.
  • On the day of the competition you will receive an individually coded "Scantron" form to write your answers on.  This helps speed up the results process and eliminates any potential for errors.
  • The winners of the 2015 Challenge will be listed on the Wine Tasting Challenge website no later than January 6, 2016.
  • Results are individually emailed to each competitor in shortly thereafter. 




You may enter as a professional or as an amateur. Depending on your formal wine education and wine related career you will be juried into either category. It should be noted that it is the professional category that garners the Grand Award and the most notoriety. If you feel you’ve “got the chops” go for the professional category.

There are no entry fees and everyone is welcome. The event is operated by volunteers and all awards and competition expenses (venue, food, wines, etc.) are provided courtesy of our very valued sponsors. This event is all about the healthy spirit of competition. With that noble intent, The Renaissance Project/CCOVI does not keep nor publish any individual scores. There is every reason to enter. Only the winners and runner-ups for each of the categories are announced.



With the wines/spirits presented ‘double blind’ (purchased and at the competition, pre-poured out of sight by “bonded” representatives from CCOVI at Brock University) the “challenge” is to correctly identify the grape varietal, country, region of origin and vintage from a diverse range of world wines. The professionals try to identify five wines while the amateurs attempt to identify three wines. There are two supplementary rounds where (1) three VQA wines are presented double blind and (2) three spirits are presented double blind.




Participation in the Challenge continues to be FREE but please be diligent and attend. We recognize that sometimes when something is free that there may not be the incentive or perhaps commitment to attend - but if you don't attend you're taking away the opportunity for someone else to compete. If you cannot participate please notify us a minimum of 3 days in advance of the Challenge so we may offer your spot up to someone else.


Failure to attend or "NO SHOWS", without appropriate notice or strong reason (with documentation), will result in your exclusion from the 2016 competition.


Please note that you must be 19 years of age to participate.




Participation to the Challenge is by appointment only.

You will have a maximum of 50 minutes to complete the Challenge.

  • Should you arrive late for your appointment, you will lose time to
    complete the Challenge.
  • Should you arrive at a different time than the scheduled one, your participation will be considered upon the spot availability at that time.

The Renaissance Group and CCOVI have designed the competition to be a personal challenge to the participants. Once you have completed the challenge you are invited to an adjoining “fellowship of food” to celebrate and enjoy the “post game” and possibly compare notes. Again, there is no cost for this great day. 


Main Challenge:

Professional round: Five wine samples are served double blind* and entrants must identify:

(1) Grape Varietal or Grape Varietals in the blend (3 points)
(2) Country (3 points)

(3) Region of Origin (3 points), and

(4) Vintage (1 BONUS point) to only be used to break “ties”.


"Super" Bonus questions are also given and only used in the case of a continued tie.

Amateur round: Three wines samples are served double blind* and are identified
in the same way as the Professional category detailed above.

*the service is double blind meaning that the servers do not know the identity of the wines they served and entrants receive wine samples coded.



Note on Categories:

Professional: This is the highest level for the competition and garners most of the accolades and prestige. It is expected that all sommeliers, wine industry people, graduates or instructors from any wine program as well as food and beverage professionals will compete in this category.


Amateur: This category is meant for the lay person, current wine studies students and individuals very new to the food and beverage industry. IF you are a past winner in the Amateur Round at the Challenge you must automatically register as a Professional in subsequent years.



Scoring for the Main Challenge:


The Professional Challenge is marked on 45 points plus 7 bonus points; results are expressed in a percentage (45 points=100% correct answers).  Bonus points are only to be used for breaking ties.

The Amateur Challenge is marked on 27 points plus 7 bonus points; results are expressed in a percentage (27 points = 100% correct answers).  Bonus points are only to be used for breaking ties.


Results and Notification:

In the Professional and Amateur Rounds only the names of the first to third place results are published.  In the CCOVI-VQA and Spirit Rounds only the first place result will be published.  A confidential 7-digit random code is given to each registrant - your individual result using your random code will be emailed to you directly - FREE.  The random code is yours and your alone - NO INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE EVER RELEASED using any other identifier except the RANDOM I.D. CODE.

Barb Tatarnic of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University personally manages all final and raw results and ensures the integrity of all results.



After the event:

- The competition wines are listed on the website within 48 hours of the completion of the Challenge.

- Competitors will be emailed their Overall Test Result using your 7-digit random I.D. number.  Only you will know your overall result.

- Winners will be announced through our Media Sponsors.

- Winners will be listed on the WTC website.



The Professional category garners much of the overall accolades and prestige. First place in the Professional category (or Grand Award Winner) will also have their name engraved on the Grand Trophy.


Awards in all the categories may be composed of a mixture of cash, trips, crystal wine stemware, and dining certificates


Additional Challenges:


“CCOVI – Brock University” VQA Wine Challenge:

Both Professionals and Amateurs are invited to participate in this extra round where entrants will be asked to identify 3 VQA wines with a similar scoring system as outlined in the main Challenge.


Renaissance Enthusiast Challenge, “Identify the Spirit”:

Professional are invited to participate in the extra round where you will be asked to properly identify 3 spirits, their type, their country of origin, their region or appellation, and their age (BONUS point).


Conduct during all Challenge rounds

It is expected that all entrants will conduct themselves in a professional manner and will expectorate all samples provided. It is also expected that all entrants will conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity and honesty. Any form of cheating or misrepresentation will result in expulsion from the Challenge.


The act of registering and accepting an appointment for the challenge will
signify that the individual entrant has read and agrees to all the conditions
and rules set out above.