All smocked up and ready to go
By the time that you read these words, the results of the 37th (!!) annual San Francisco International Wine Competition should be publicly available, so I thought that I would share some of the highlights among the event’s big winners.
The SFIWC is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Under the watchful eyes of Executive Director Anthony Dias Blue and Director of Judging Tim McDonald, SFIWC assembles a top-notch volunteer crew and some of the best and most experienced tasters in the U.S. wine biz (and yes, I’m still trying to figure out why they keep inviting me to judge).
That large, talented team happens to be chock full of some of the funniest, liveliest, and kindest people in wine, and so it’s a real pleasure to interact, work, and generally just break bread with all of those folks.
Sweepstakes and super tasting require smocks, not capes…
We also happen to taste some killer juice over that weekend, all done blind within categories, in panels of 3-4 people, with “super tastings” and an eventual sweepstakes round to help determine the best-of-the-best. It’s from that latter category – the wines fully deserving of having Tenacious D’s To Be The Best as their theme song – that I draw my personal competition highlights…
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Later this year, I will have the pleasure of judging at the 2015 edition of the San Francisco International Wine Competition. This will mark my second year as a judge at SFIWC, and is part of my gettin’ busy Summer, during which I’ve somehow amassed a series of competitions, tours, and speaking gigs with little rest between them.
My understanding is that somehow that peripatetic sequence is part of Marvel Studios’ Phase Five plan.
Anyway, I suspect that, while I will enjoy myself at SFIWC immensely, I most likely will not enjoy it quite as immensely as last year, when I had the good fortune of being seated with event host Anthony Dias Blue. Which meant that our table got to judge the best bubbles (by reputation, anyway!) submitted in the competition.
Once can hope, though, right?
Anyway, much more to come on that as events unfold. SFIWC will take place in… San Francisco (duh!) on June 12, 13 and 14.
Over the next two insane weeks, I’ll be waving to the Midwesterners among you from 30,000 feet as I fly back and forth across our great country twice in order to lend my taste buds (and, no doubt, subsequently further increase not only my frequent flier mileage but also my dental hygiene and surgical fees) to two Left Coast wine competitions.
First, there’s my second stint at the venerable Critics Challenge wine comp., held in (stay classy) San Diego (San Diego is still there, right?), the 11th year for that event, which is unique in its assembly of judges who are pretty much exclusively in the wine journalism/critic biz.
This will be followed shortly (as in, a few days) by my first stint at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, as part of a group of seventeen newly-minted judges joining the cadre at SFIWC this year, its 34th (see inset pic on that as reported by SOMM Journal earlier this month).
The thing that tickles me Provence-rosé-pink about all of this is not so much that I am getting wined, dined and paid for doing something so cool (ok, that does, in fact, tickle me a bit Provence-rosé-pink now that I think about it), but that I know so many of the other judges, and am fortunate enough to call several of them friends. Technically, these are business trips for me, but they are hardly the kind of business trips about which one could complain, particularly when compared to some of the locales, efforts, and intensely driven personalities I frequented in my corporate life (ever been to Hackettstown, NJ; Slough, England; or Stupino, Russia? No? Well, take it from me, you don’t want to be in too much of a hurry to visit).
Let’s just say I’m not complaining!
More to come from all of that (if you’ve got requests on what you’d like to see in terms of coverage out of those comps., shout it out).