Wine Evaluation & Vintage Chart

American Wine Society Wine Evaluation Form

The American Wine Society uses the 20 point evaluation scale developed at the University of California at Davis. The Davis system was developed by Dr. Maynard A. Amerine, Professor of Enology at the University of California at Davis, and his staff in 1959 as a method of rating the large number of experimental wines that were being produced at the university.

The Davis System

The Davis system is quite straightforward. It assigns a certain number of points to each of ten categories which are then totaled to obtain the overall rating score for a given wine. In order to simplify the system for everyday use, American Wine Society has reduced the number of categories to five: Appearance, Aroma & Bouquet, Taste & Texture, Aftertaste, and Overall Impression. Wines are rated in each category and the total dictates the rating of the wine according to the criteria below.

  • 18 – 20 Extraordinary
  • 15 – 17 Excellent
  • 12 – 14 Good
  •   9 – 11 Marginal
  •   6 –  8 Deficient

Wine Aroma Wheel

American Wine Society also uses the Wine Aroma Wheel developed by Prof. Ann C. Nobel, 2000 American Wine Society Award of Merit Recipient. The Wine Aroma Wheel is an incredible tool to learn about wines and enhance one’s ability to describe the complexity of flavor in red and white wines. Initially, most people can’t recognize or describe aromas so the purpose of the wheel is to provide terms to describe wine aromas.

American Wine Society Wine Evaluation Form

The American Wine Society Wine Evaluation Form is two-sided. One side is the Wine Aroma Wheel and the other side is the Wine Evaluation Chart. American Wine Society members may log in and access a pdf of the form using the link below.

American Wine Society Wine Evaluation Form (PDF)
American Wine Society Wine Evaluation Form (XLS)
Systematic Framework For Wine Evaluation (PDF)
Wine Evaluation Form How-To Video

American Wine Society Vintage Chart


Unlike most vintage charts published today, the American Wine Society chart is comparative, comparing one vintage to another. Sure, some great wines are made every vintage and some poor wines too. By pitting each vintage against its peers, the result gives you the “odds” of finding a good wine in that vintage. You have a much better chance of finding a good wine in the higher ranked vintages than in the lower ones.

How are the rankings determined?

Based on a variety of articles written in wine publications, harvest reports, other vintage charts and personal experience, the past 20 vintages are ranked from 1 (worst) to 20 (best). They are then grouped by two so, for example, #1 & #2 both get a 1 ranking, #3 & #4 both get a 2 ranking, and #19 & #20 both get a 10 ranking. The rankings are updated each year based on new information on how the wines are aging.
American Wine Society Members may log in and access the Vintage Chart using the link below: