Of all the grape varieties, Riesling best expresses regional characteristics based on its terroir. For this reason, judging at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge is conducted on a regional basis and is designed to promote and explore these regional differences that Riesling expresses so well. The CIRC is unique in Australian show judging in that wines are first judged in their separate regions and the Elite wines from each region are then judged for the best in their country.
Elite Award winners from all countries are finally judged for the Best Wine of the Challenge.
Two separate panels of three judges are guided by the Chairman of Judges to collaborate and discuss the results at each stage, and retaste any wines to ensure agreement is reached on the scores given to the wines. With just one category of wine, divided into 20 classes over three days, judges have ample time to give every wine the consideration it deserves.
While the wines are submittted to the judges in regional groupings, the judges are only given the vintage and the sugar levels of the wines. Regions with large numbers of entries in a particular class are broken up in to small judging groups between the two panels to further hide their identity. Regions are only revealed in the Results catalogue.
Judging is conducted against the internationally recognised 100 point judging system which was initiated in 2012 and brings the CIRC into alignment with other major International wine events.