The Las Vegas Global Wine & Spirits Awards are to be held once again later this year with the wine competition to be held in August and the spirits competition to be held in September. Stolzle, along with our hospitality distribution partner RAK USA, is both proud and excited to once again be supporting the Las Vegas Global Wine & Spirits Awards. Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with Founder/Executive Director Eddie Rivkin to discuss the award programs and how they came into being - and, how he managed to continue to hold them despite the COVID pandemic. Here's what he had to say:
The goal of the awards is to become the pre-eminent, most credible source for evaluating scoring and awarding medals to wines and spirits in the world. Additionally, because of success in the Las Vegas Global Wine and Spirit Awards, our goal is to help brands gain access (distribution) in the highly competitive Las Vegas market. That success will lead to increased sales and visibility not only here in Las Vegas, but nationally and globally because of the exposure to the 50 million plus visitors annually.
Subsequently the value of winning a medal in the competition is highly respected and valuable in the industry and can be leveraged multiple ways both in B2B and B2C arenas. As Founder and Executive Director, I lean heavily on my two Chairman of the Judges Panels to continually add highly qualified judges every year. Between them, Tim McDonald (Wine) and Steve Beal (Spirits), they have over 90 years industry experience and have judged hundreds of competitions around the world. Their circles of influence and professional relationships are ever expanding and provide a constant flow of highly qualified judges for the Las Vegas Global Wine and Spirit Awards.
Q: How are the entries – whether they be in the wine category or the spirits category – judged.
ER: The judging process, itself, is conducted as a 100% double blind tasting process from the early rounds all the way through the sweepstakes rounds. As each entry is received, it is catalogued in our system and put into its most appropriate sub-category.
During the preliminary rounds of the competition, all the wines and spirits in their respective and specific sub-categories are sampled together as flights, carefully evaluated from appearance to smell, color to finish, and scored by panels of our judges in flights of like categories.
Important to note is that the entries are judged individually, on their own merits, NOT against each other. Then, scores for each spirit are tallied. The few entries that have the distinguished honor of being scored the highest by the panels in the preliminary rounds move on to our sweepstakes round.
On the final afternoon of the competition, those exceptional entries are all re-tasted by the entire panel of judges who then vote and award the most highly sought after “Best Of” Category and Show Awards.
Q: Last year, during the pandemic, you had to adjust your events to maintain safety protocols, yet you were still able to maintain the high level of quality of the overall competition. What changes did you have to make and will many of those changes remain for the 2021 competition?
ER: The 2020 competitions certainly presented an entirely new and different set of challenges when it came to setting up the comfort and safety for the judges and volunteers.
In addition to the requirements set forth by the State of Nevada, Clark County and the City of Las Vegas, I added a significant number of additional health and safety protocols beginning with temperature checks for everyone upon arrival to the competition area and upon returning from any off-premise activity.
Some of the other protocols included volunteers that interacted with the judges always wore face shields masks and gloves and changed gloves after every evolution with the judges. Prep area volunteers changed gloves after every evolution. Judges were provided with both face shields and masks for their comfort and safety and were distanced more than the mandated six feet.
The key takeaway from all the additional protocols implemented for the 2020 Las Vegas Global Wine and Spirit Awards that none of the judges or volunteers ever conveyed to me any concern for their safety during the three days of the competition and no positive tests occurred because of doing the competition in person.
Second, the visual appearance of the Stolzle glassware is just stunning. I know, most people will say a wine glass is a wine glass. But for me as a competition owner, and someone who must be keen on how things will look when photographed, the Stolzle glassware exceeds expectation.
Our post show publicity has worldwide reach and the glassware must look the part. The nosing glass we selected for the Las Vegas Global Spirit Awards is so incredibly elegant and unlike anything used in any other competition around the world.
In the world of wine and spirit competitions where even the smallest details matter significantly, having the highest quality glassware from Stolzle makes a huge difference.
Q: What are the dates of this year’s competition and how can people find out more information about the Las Vegas Global Wine & Spirits Awards?
ER: Here are the dates and individual websites for each event:
The 2021 Las Vegas Global Wine Awards will take place August 9 – 11.
Information can be found at www.VegasWineAwards.com
The 2021 Las Vegas Global Spirit Awards will take place September 13 -15.
Information can be found at www.VegasSpiritAwards.com
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