The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 126

20  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2016 OP-ED T his is a column for the people who sneer at wineries who tout the medals their wines have won at important competitions. I have just spent three days at the lovely Hotel Nikko in San Francisco as part of a battalion of 52 respected palates— people recognized nationwide for their keen judgement and trained perceptions about wine. As I watched them in action, I was deeply impressed by their depth of knowledge and the careful and thorough examination of every wine presented to them. There were more than 4,700 wines entered this year in the San Francisco International Wine Competition. They were entered into 130 categories and their suggested retail prices ranged from $5 to $345. They came from 31 different countries. The wines were brought to the 17 panels of judges in flights of anonymous glasses. All the judges were told was the variety and, in the case of the larger classes— Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and a few others—they were told the vintage. Otherwise, they were not informed about the appellation, the country of origin or the price of each wine. These super palates fully understood the momentous significance of their deliberations. They examined each wine and measured it against a personal mental template. They discussed each wine with the other members of their panel; then they tasted it again. Eventually, a consensus rating was rendered. The SFIWC, now in its 37th year, takes its mission very seriously. The judges are fully aware of the impact of their decisions. Many vintners have told me that the medal they won in San Francisco was the only tool they needed to market their wine. So when you are tempted to belittle or dismiss an award from an important competition, keep in mind that a bunch of experts are providing you with a carefully consid- ered roadmap to what's currently worthwhile in the market. The results of the San Francisco International Wine Competition will be published in the August-September issue of The Tasting Panel's sister publication, The SOMM Journal, where they will reach that magazine's nationwide audience of influential wine buyers and sommeliers. —Anthony Dias Blue Editor in Chief A Weekend in San Francisco

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - July 2016