The first American Wine Blog Awards were given in 2007. Created by Tom Wark and hosted on his blog Fermention, the awards quickly became the leading means of identifying excellence in wine blogging.

Wine blogs are nominated for awards by the general public and the top finalists for each awards category are selected by a panel of judges. Awards are given based on a combination of the judges’ opinions and a public vote.

In 2010, the Wine Blog Awards underwent major changes and administration was given to the folks at the Wine Bloggers Conference. Changes were made to the awards themselves and this website was established as the awards’ home.

The awards are presented live each year at the Wine Bloggers Conference and the year of the award represents the year they are given and received, not the preceding year. Please use Twitter hashtag #WineBlogAwards for discussion about the awards.

Judging Process

The Goal:

To make the public vote important in the overall process but to balance that process with a variety of judges with strong backgrounds and experience in the wine industry and social media.

The Process:

  • Submissions are open to the public so people can suggest their favorite blog.
  • At the close of the nomination period, organizers go through the blogs and make sure there were no dead links and that the nominated blogs have the requisite qualification (regular posts, 1 year of history, etc.).  We also ask judges to double check when they made their selections as well.
  • Organizers then present the judges with the comprehensive lists in each category and ask that they select their top 5 favorites in each of their assigned categories.  The intent here is to curate the long long list using the judges.  The judges rank the blogs from 1 to 5 and submit them their list back to the organizers.  There are 3-4 judges per category.  The votes are tallied with 1 getting 10 “points”, 2 getting 8 “points”, 3 getting 7 “points”, etc.  If there are any ties after the judges rank the blogs they would both be included for the public vote.
  • The public would be presented with the “Finalists” and get to vote.  Judges also vote on the finalists at this point (because the finalist list may not be the same list or order that they had for their submission).
  • The public vote is tallied and each of the finalists is ranked from 1 to 5.  The public vote is weighted 50% and the judges final vote is also 50%.  So “Column 1″ is the judges ranking 1 – 5, Column 2 is public ranking of the same blogs 1-5.  Same point system is used.  If there is a tie, the public vote (i.e. whomever the public voted #1) determines the winner.


  • http://dobianchi.com/ Jeremy Parzen

    why was I able to comment and nominate for other categories but not for best writing? help please… thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/girlwithaglass Alana Gentry

    Tom & WBC team,

    I know how hard you and your team/advisors have worked to develop these awards and have deftly dealt with growing pains. It's good to see that you are continuing to develop the project.

    It's a hard thing you're doing and I give you lots of credit for dealing with questions like mine. I have no doubt that you've had tons of conversations and there may never be answers to best practices for contests/awards.That said, I have a burning question. (smile)I wonder if the self-promotion (via Twitter mostly) for nominations threatens to cheapen the awards making it appear that potential winners are begging for a promotional tool (the WBA logo) for their websites/blogs. It's like producers vying for the Oscar but bloggers are using social media, therefore it is loudly public.The public voting after the nominations are in is the culprit, yes? I'd like to hear the panel's thoughts regarding the purpose behind the public voting. Does it cheapen it when the nominees are begging their social media circles to vote for them? If they don't create buzz/get the votes, they can't win, right?  

    Is the public voting a panacea for the potential accusation of the panel giving awards to a small coterie of insiders/friends?

    Ok, now that I've got the question out of my head, it no longer feels like a burning question, maybe just a nagging thought. Any perspective?


  • thewineguy

    When do the nominations open for 2012?

    Have you read this wine blog-site?


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    I very much to like and agree with your point of view.I have met some really neat people through the comments, I certainly want to encourage more me to comment.

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  • winefan

    Greetings – please see new wine blog focused on urban winemakers so far at Oakland Local – “Six ounces to fine” http://oaklandlocal.com/2013/06/six-ounces-to-fine-the-wine-column/and:

  • Stephanie Timotheou

    Are the awards open to all countries? We have a great new blog – check us out at http://www.grapegrowerandwinemaker.wordpress.com

  • Chris

    I find this blog fun and informative: http://www.billswinewandering.com/