Fruit Wine, Mead and Cider Have Their Competition – Finally!



Sunday 7/10 is the deadline for the first Drink Outside the Grape Competition, dedicated to giving fruit wines, mead, cider, perry and fruit brandies the attention and respect they deserve in a professional blind tasting. No 100% grape wines will be allowed, nor wines artificially flavored with additives. Receiving (of shipped entries) deadline: July 29th. Event: August 10th. For details visit or call 434-825-9061.

Fruit wines, meads and ciders are finally getting their own professionally judged competition. Finally!

Until very recently, it has been very difficult to get respect in the wine competition circuit. The majority of larger international competitions are not open to “non-grape” wines. The few that are, do not have a wide variety of categories available. Fruit wines and meads (and ciders too) call fall under a wide array of styles and categories and its wonderful to now have a competition that takes us “non-grape” producers seriously.

To finally have access to a competition that can be judged by experienced fruit wine, mead and cider judges and have our products properly evaluated is music to my ears and will surely help bring the stature of non-grape wines, meads and cider up a notch.

The “Drink Outside the Grape” competition is chaired by Richard Leahy, who ran the International Eastern Wine Competition for 10 years, now runs the Eastern Winery Exposition conference program.. Through this competition, the organizers have the expertise and the understanding to give fruit wines, ciders and meads the respect they deserve in a dedicated category wine competition judged by open-minded industry professionals.

Fruit wines, ciders, meads (pyments, cysers, melomels and friends) are welcome as entries, as well as sparkling fruit wines and any fruit brandies or eaux-de-vie.

The competition will not feature conventional grape-based wines, to remove the chance of that judging bias. Grape-based wines blended with fruit wine are eligible.

All wines will be judged in classes of their type, in order of residual sweetness.

The details of the competition, rules, fees and eligibility are available through

I sincere “best of luck” for this new competition and I am sure that fruit wine producers, marketers and of course fruit wine, mead and cider drinkers will benefit greatly from this wonderful development.

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