Last Monday I was one of the judges of the VA State Fair wine competition, the second year I have participated. The fair is not until autumn, but the competition takes place in advance and then the gold medal winners get to show their wines at the fair.
I am happy to report that I found the overall quality of wines to be better this year than last. There weren't very many that I rated below a 75 (out of 100), the score that basically says the wine is not fit for human consumption. The bad news is that there also weren't very many wines that I thought were excellent or outstanding - most were either good or pretty good. There are something like 154 wineries in Virginia now producing many different wines - we need more outstanding ones or Virginia wine will not get the national recognition that other states, like Washington, have.
There were 214 wines entered in the competition, of which I tasted about half. It's pretty grueling, actually. By the end you just want a beer. It also becomes harder to tell the reds apart towards the end, which is disadvantage if your wine happens to land there. Still, it was an interesting experience and it's always fun to have an influence on a wine's future.