Judging & Competition FAQs

How are entries judged?

Judges work in teams of two: one Technical and one Aesthetic. Technical Judges deduct points for flaws and defects from a perfect score of 50; Aesthetic Judges award points for outstanding characteristics and qualities to a maximum of 50. Learn more about the ACS Judging Process. 

How much cheese should I send, and how should I send it?

Product must be sent in its original form. Cheeses may not be plugged and/or resealed. Cheeses must be entered as whole wheels, loaves, or blocks. Exceptions will only be made for larger form cheeses, i.e. Emmental and Cheddar.  These cheeses must be presented in the form in which they are available for wholesale distribution. (For example, 10 lb. Print, 5 lb. Brick, 20 lb. Wedge, etc.) Any cheese or dairy product under one pound of weight will require 1 retail case of samples or a minimum of 6 pieces.

How are entries awarded?

Minimum scores are required to earn awards and each entry is evaluated on its own merit. Learn more about the ACS Judging process. 

When will I receive my award and/or scores?

Winners of the ACS Judging & Competition will be announced at the Awards Ceremony during the ACS Annual Conference. Winners present at the Awards Ceremony will be presented a medal honoring their placement. Shortly after the conference, you will receive a copy of the score sheet(s) for each of your entries, including the judges’ comments, overall scores, and the number of entries per category.  Winners will also receive an official Awards Certificate and ribbon for each winning entry.

What happens to my entries after they are judged?

ACS will feature all products entered in the Fresh Unripened Cheeses, Cultured Milk and Cream Products, and Butter categories at our Brunch of Champions held during the ACS Annual Conference. The Festival of Cheese Showcase will feature all cheeses from the other Competition categories that finish in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. In addition, select Competition cheeses may be displayed for sampling based on the discretion of the Festival of Cheese Planning Committee. Products that were judged in the Competition and did not receive an award will be included in the Cheese Sale with proceeds supporting cheesemaker scholarships.