Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wine Show Judging / A Small Insight

When I was associated with our local wine show, I was always amazed how the judges could get through 150 plus wines a day without obvious fatigue and then have the energy to 'party' at the post judging dinner.
Also at bigger wine shows more wines are judged, often over a longer period.
One of Australia's leading wine personalities and a judge, James Halliday, explained all in a recent interview.
He said that the greatest demand was concentration. He could not let his mind wander from the job in hand for a second. The result was mental exhaustion at the end of the day.
He also needed to protect his mouth, particularly his tongue. He rinses with soda water every 10 wines or so to help neutralize the continuous acid attack.

He says that if he is tasting continuously for 5 days or more the 'erosion' of the surface of the tongue can be painful as well as distracting. Some judges even start to experience severe sensitivity of the teeth.
James has found that cheese helps battle the acidity of white wines and green olives on the stone helps strip the mouth of tannin build up from red wines.
He introduced an idea into the Australian Wine Show system where red and white wine classes are alternated to reduce some of the mouth stress. This was adopted at our local show.
James estimates he tastes 10,000 wine a year!
But he drinks a beer at the end of each judging day.
On the surface wine judging sounds like a great job but maybe just enjoying a bottle or two with food is a better option.

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