Olympic wine tasting
If you have ever wondered how the shiny medal stickers make their way onto wine bottles, you might be surprised to hear that a great deal of work and scrutiny goes into the process. Wine shows have been in existence in Australia since 1884 and have been about developing, supporting and promoting excellence in Australian wines and while the ideas of sipping copious amount of wines in a day seem appealing to most, I can assure you that it can be far from that.
I have been involved with various wine shows over the years to be able to share with you that the task of appraising 100 wines in a day is more like running a marathon than a stroll in the park.
Appraisal demands a great deal of concentration skill and effort and especially when maintained for the duration of a day. In order to minimise palate fatigue, classes of wines are usually kept below 40 and none of the wine is swallowed, as to do so would impair judgement. To have the most objective outcome and results, a number of judges are used from different backgrounds.
In the case of the International Cool Climate Wine Show, one of Australia's foremost show for cool climate wines which I had the pleasure judging recently, there are about 13 judges and 4 associate judges assessing a gruelling 700 entries over 2 days. Each wine is scored out of 100 points and just like the Olympics there are bronze, silver and gold medals awarded. The gold medal in each class is then eligible for a trophy.
Since there are no absolutes in wine assessment there is no such thing as the perfect appraisal of it, but next time you spot one of those gold stickers, spare a thought for the hard work behind it!
Club and Resorts Sommelier