High Elevations, High Expectations (Judging At The 2011 Lake County Wine Awards)

Vinted on July 27, 2011 binned in going pro, wine industry events

As you read this, I’ll be fresh (or maybe not-so-fresh, after thinking about the stamina-melting temperatures, and lengthy after-after parties!) from the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference – and after about 24 hours at the homestead, immediately off to Lake County, CA where I’ll be a judging in the 2011 Lake County Wine Awards Competition

The deal goes down on July 28 at Brassfield Estate Winery in Clearlake Oaks (gotta love town names that make multiple bucolic references!).  It will mark the first time that I’ve been in any way involved in an area’s sesquicentennial celebration, by the way (I’m guessing there aren’t too many of those going around).

Several things attracted me to this gig, not the least of them being the fact that the competition doesn’t really deal in medals or trophies that have little consumer meaning – just the opposite, in fact.  From the website:

[On] November 5, 2011, a consumer event will be held at Langtry Estate & Vineyards—People’s Choice Wine Awards—where the people get to ‘blind taste’ the judges top picks and select the “People’s Choice.”

In other words, after the judges’ faves are revealed and promoted, the real winners are picked from that bunch in a large blind tasting where consumers decide who gets top honors.  That’s awesome.

The competition is meant to showcase wines that specifically state Lake County or a Lake County AVA on the label.  That means, generally, wines from high-elevation vineyards, and for me personally, wines with some pretty high expectations…

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Sweet Wine Drinkers, (A Lack Of) Panties, And How We Experience Wine

Vinted on July 26, 2011 binned in wine news

According to a recent survey of wine drinkers, headed up jointly by Cornell professor Virginia Utermohlen and controversial wine guru Tim Hanni, wine consumers who prefer sweet wines often hyper-experience across their other senses.  Apparently to the point that they might forego their undergarments entirely:

“People who love sweet or delicate wines are typically what we call Sweet or Hypersensitive tasters. They live with vivid sensations that people at the other end of the spectrum cannot imagine and will often prefer Moscato wines. Those more tolerant tasters would prefer wines with more tannins, for example… people with very sensitive palates are also more sensitive to light, sound, taste and touch. The touch aspect can be significant in their clothing, as the manufacturers’ tags irritate their skin and cause them to wear underclothing inside out, or in many cases, none at all.”

So… based on what we know about women’s wine habits from recent studies and polls… if you have amorous intent then you’re best bet might be buying your date a bottle of the most expensive, and sweetest (assuming she’s one of those hyper-sensorial types) rose wine possible.  If I were Sutter Home, I might increase my White Zin prices by several percentage points in anticipation of the windfall (after adding some more sugar to them).

Just sayin’.

But there is a serious side to all of this for us wine geeks…

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Judging The 2011 Wine Blog Awards (Post-WBC11 Hangover Edition)

Vinted on July 25, 2011 binned in wine bloggers conference

It feels strange being able to settle at home and pop open a Flying Dog brewski only a few short hours after the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference, the last three installments having taken place on the Left Coast and thus requiring a not-insubstantial amount of travel to attend for us Right Coasters.

This year’s shindig was held much closer to my neck of the woods, in Charlottesville, VA, where most of the conference days hit well over 100F outside, for which I employed a strategy of frequent shirt changes and liberal application of underarm deodorant (we might need a poll of those sitting near me at any of the sessions to determine how successful I was at beating the heat).  More to come on my encounters (good, bad, and thoroughly ugly) with Virginian wines in the next few days.

No doubt that this will be among several dozen blog posts on the global interwebs today talking about the results of the 2011 Wine Blog Awards, though I suspect far fewer will be discussing how the awards were judged.  I can talk a little bit about that, since I was a judge for this year’s competition…

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