2017 California Cider Competition and MASICC Rules and Requirements

Fees and bottle requirements for:

  • Entrants must pay all customs, duties, and shipping fees.
  • Commercial Divisions: $65 per California Cider Competition entry or MASICC entry.
    • 6 bottles per entry of 12oz bottles/cans.
    • 3 bottles per entry of 500ml, 22oz, or 750ml bottles/cans. 
    • To accommodate “in planning” entrants who may wish to become commercially licensed in the future, any entrant who desires to enter the Commercial Division under an assumed business name may do so. 
    • Award winners should be prepared to provide a case of cider for the Grand Tasting.
  • Noncommercial Division: $20 per entry.
    • 2 bottles per entry.
    • Noncommercial entries must be sent in bottles free of permanent labels or markings to ensure the blindness of the judging. Failure to abide by this requirement may result in disqualification.
  • Ship all cider samples to the following address for Judging:

    Cider Competition c/o
    Mendocino County Fairgrounds
    14400 CA-128
    Boonville, CA 95415

Entries found to be in violation rules will have any awards rescinded immediately. 

Entries from trial batches are permitted.

Entries in Standard Styles must contain minimum of 85% apple or pear juice concentrate. The Competition reserves the unrestricted right to submit Standard Class entries for laboratory analysis to verify juice content. Entries in Specialty Styles, including Unlimited Cider and Perry are exempt from testing.

In Standard Styles, ciders that have both apple and pear juice do not meet the requirements for Standard Style classes, and should be entered in Specialty Styles. 

Single varietal ciders are those made with 85% of a named varietal, and may be entered in any Standard Class. MUST be identified as Single Varietal for this special consideration.

Entries in the California Cider Competition must be made from California grown apples and pears, Entrants agree to provide documentation upon request of competition officials. Under California law it is unlawful to misrepresent the agricultural products, see California Law AB 1871.

All entries become the property of the Mendocino County Fair & Apple Show. Any portion of the entries remaining after announcement of the awards may be disposed of as seen fit by the MCFAS. The Fair intends to display winning commercial entries. 


Award-Winning Public Tastings at MCFAS

Selected Award-winning ciders will be poured during public tasting events:

  • Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show (September 15-17th, 2017)
  • Additional special events promoting the Cider Competitions



All judging will be conducted using “blind” panels. Each entry will be identified by a randomly-assigned registration number. Judges will see only that number along with important information needed to properly evaluate the entry, such as style, level of carbonation, level of sweetness, and any special ingredients or process used in production.

Commercial entries will be poured out of sight of judges and identified only by registration number. Noncommercial entries must be sent in bottles free of permanent labels or markings to ensure the blindness of the judging. They will be poured at judging tables and identified only by registration number. Failure to abide by this requirement may result in disqualification.

Judges will be a combination of cider industry professionals, cider experts, sensory analysis experts, experienced BJCP and nonBJCP judges, and qualified members of the media. Medals are awarded based on the score assigned by the Primary judging panel.

Gold Medal: 18-21 points

Silver Medal: 14-17 points

Bronze Medal: 11-14 points

All entries that earn a Gold Medal in the Primary judging are eligible for Best of Show judging. The Best of Show judge panels evaluate these top-scoring entries for Best in Class and Honorable Mention honors.

If a Best of Show judge panel detects a serious flaw during their evaluation (such as mousiness), that entry will be referred to a Secondary judging panel. The Secondary panel will thoroughly re-evaluate the entry, complete a new scoresheet, and assign a new score that takes the place of the score assigned by the Primary panel.


Use of Competition Awards in Marketing

Use of any award in a misleading way may result in that award being rescinded and the offending producer being barred from future competitions. Producers are responsible for ensuring that distributors, retailers, and restaurants use awards in advertising and marketing in accordance with competition rules. Failure to maintain proper control of the use of these awards may also result in the award being rescinded and in ineligibility to compete in future competitions.

Feedback is supplied to aid producers in understanding how ciders were perceived by judges and what the relative strengths and weaknesses were perceived to be. Individual judges’ comments are not to be quoted for marketing purposes without the express prior approval of the California Cider Competition or MASICC.

The aim of both competitions is to encourage experimentation and help producers discover their strengths. Consequently, entries from trial batches are permitted. However, awards made to entries from trial batches may not be referenced by the producer or its distributors and retailers for marketing purposes without the express prior approval of the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show. Trial batches are defined as those that represent less than 100 gallons (US) or less than 5% of total producer production, whichever represents the greater volume, or batches that are not available for sale to the public.

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