I get to do something cool tonight. My job, that is food/beverage podcaster and blogger, affords me a good bit of opportunity to try new foods, beverages, attend events and in some cases, judge. Through the Sipping NC: The Art of Drinking Podcast, I met Chuck Johnson, co-owner of Shadow Springs Vineyard and Windsor Run Cellars/WRC Distillery. He asked that Jordan and I both consider being judges for the North Carolina State Fair Wine Competition. Jordan couldn’t do it, even before the recent revelations were known due to his work, but I said I could do it.
So, tonight, The BCPF and I will be heading to Surry County to spend two nights in a hotel, at a vineyard and at a Community College to talk, taste and judge wine. The BCPF is taking a book/Kindle/etc. to occupy her time whilst I judge, it’s unclear if she’ll be in the room while I do that or not. I don’t like not being able to observe our “three-foot rule” on Saturday, but this is an honor and opportunity that I just can’t pass up. And, she doesn’t want me to. I love that woman!
I will admit, though, that I’m not the most in-depth judge of wine. Beer and liquor I can probably hold my own, but I’m sure I’ll be out of my league when it comes to the wine. Wine is what I want to know more about, though so this will help me. I’ll be surrounded by judges more experienced than me and I can learn from them. That is my presumption, however. I’d think as much stock (and money) as the wineries put into this event, they’ll want people that really know what they’re talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, I do know a bit about wine, I’ve been doing tastings and ratings for a hot minute, but I’m no expert. I don’t know that I’d ever want to be a Somm (short Sommelier [səməlˈyā] which basically means a wine steward) because I’ve seen the rigor and headache they go through to get certification. I do, however, want to get my Cicerone certification. Cicerone [sisəˈrōnē] is basically the same as a Sommelier for beer. I have several friends who have started their certification but they’re also in the alcohol-serving business. Danielle Bull, my “work wife” and co-host on The Less Desirables is working on hers, in fact.
I think, though, that I can admit that I don’t know everything I need/want to know about wine helps me in this judging task. It makes me more curious and more apt to really want to do a good job judging. I must do a good job of judging. Not that my vote or ratings will impact the entire wine industry, probably far from it, but you never know. I can’t take that chance. I need to be on it and on it I will be. So, wish me luck, Dear Reader. I’ll try to get the best wine this state has to offer in the light to help get them to you!
The weird thing is the spitting rule. They don’t want us drinking the wine, they want us to spit it out. I don’t like wasting alcohol. Those grapes died for our pleasure. But, I also understand that they don’t want/need the judges to be getting sloshed. I always need to swallow before I get the full effect of the wine but we’ll see how the spitting goes.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“If the wine is well made, no matter what your personal prejudices might be, it deserves a medal.” – NC State Fair Wine Competition instructions to the Judges.