Are Wine Competitions any good?

roseglass1.jpgJudging wines for almost as long as she has been a Master of Wine, Rosemary George believes that wine competitions serve a useful purpose. Continue reading for the extract of this article. The full article appears in the September/October issue of Sommelier India. The Sommelier India Wine Competition will be held on November 19th and 20th, 2009 in Mumbai.

It all depends on the judges – and on the wines. Personal taste and preferences inevitably come into play, but despite that, I firmly believe that in a well-organised competition, outstanding quality will shine out and the right wines win the gold medals.
I’ve been judging competitions for almost as long as I have been a Master of Wine and wine writer. And it has been a rewarding experience, taking me to New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and even to Georgia for their first ever wine competition. In a way this was the most challenging. We were six judges, without a common language. Fortunately there were skilled translators at hand and even my schoolgirl German and Russian were not without use.
The wines too were a challenge. The dry red wines, made from Georgia’s grape variety, Saperavi, were straightforward to assess; less obvious were the semi-sweet reds, a style of wine much beloved by Georgians but neither appreciated nor understood by a Western European palate. Here Western Europe deferred to the local palate, as it did for the flight of fiery Georgian white spirits.
Sommelier India is about to host its very first wine competition, which suggests that the Indian wine trade has come of age. The results will undoubtedly be enormously useful to the Indian wine consumer and also help the Indian wine producers to place their wines in an international context. I wish it well.
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