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Mike Filigenzi

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Mike Dunne's column today: So you wanna be a wine judge?

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:17 pm

From Mike Dunne's column in the Sacramento Bee today (at Sacbee.com, reg. required I think)


A reader asked how she can become a wine judge. I e-mailed her a reply that I subsequently realized was too brief and not very helpful.

Her question re-emerged in my mind as I judged at the recent California State Fair wine competition, but with an addendum: Why would anyone want to be a wine judge?

Sure, it sounds like a whole lot of fun, and it is. You get to taste dozens of wines you probably never would have a chance to taste otherwise. Chances are pretty good that you will be on a panel with a commercial winemaker or an enology instructor. They almost always are generous with their insights, pointing out why this or that wine tastes like it does, helping you learn to watch for those attributes as you continue to evaluate.

But if you like to savor and study wine, a judging isn't the place to do it. The pace is brisk compared with a dinner where you are able to appreciate three or four wines at leisure. Your fellow panelists might be generous with their opinions, but they also might not be patient if you dawdle. After all, you'll likely be expected to get through 100 or so wines within a few hours.


He goes on to list some of the pluses and minuses.

Comments from you judges, judge-wannabes, and not-in-a-million-years-would-I-judges???

Mike
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
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Randy Buckner

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Re: Mike Dunne's column today: So you wanna be a wine judge?

by Randy Buckner » Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:43 pm

Agree -- wine judgings are more for the camaraderie and networking. They are not much fun. Sitting at a table going through as many as 12 flights of 10-15 wines is very fatiguing mentally. The taste buds don't fatigue; the mind does. You have to get up, move around, clear your head, and come back and concentrate on the wines. Suffering through a round of 80 <$10 Chardonnays is a lesson in suffering to the highest.... :shock: Then there is the wine judges test you have to take at UC Davis if you want to judge at the CA State Fair. It is a pretty tough test, but I think most geeks on this board could pass it with a little preparation -- you already know most wine faults, what a specific wine should taste like, levels of acidity and sugar, etc.
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Ed Draves

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Re: Mike Dunne's column today: So you wanna be a wine judge?

by Ed Draves » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:17 pm

I love being a wine judge, the meals, the travel, the fasinating people you meet, the talented people you judge with even the first few flights of wine. It does get exhausting but even towards the end of a long day, when it is definatly work, there are still gems to be tasted (a lot of dogs as well).
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Mike Dunne's column today: So you wanna be a wine judge?

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:06 pm

I've only done it once, myself, and that was for the California State Fair's Home Winemaking Competition. I enjoyed it a lot, despite the palate fatigue.

I'm not sure if 80 homemade reds are better or worse than 80 <$10 chardonnays...... :shock:


Mike
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child

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