Wine Competitions Get Ready for Technology

Pulling your hair out over wine competition results?

THE call for technology to be used at important competitions is not limited to the 2010 World Cup where a number of ludicrous refereeing decisions have led to a storm of protest. A number of wine judges have now also requested that wine competitions employ technology to avoid the heartbreak and trauma of incorrect decisions on judging panels.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a leading South African wine judge told WineGoggle: “Just the slightest slip during the judging process can make the difference between Gold and Bronze. While we believe competition organisers do everything in their powers to ensure a fair outcome, human error does sometime lead to the wrong decisions being made on the spur of the moment. Especially when the pressure is on and the moment is heat-filled, judges can erroneously make a vinous cock-up.”

According to the wine judge, one of the most common faults is for a judge to get the order of a line-up mixed-up leading to him or her scoring a certain wine incorrectly when the wines are revisited at the end of the line-up. “This especially happens during the Shiraz tastings where most of us are so pissed at the end of tasting 100-plus wines we can’t even read our own score-sheets when going back down the line-up to do a re-taste. Video technology could assist in this by alerting the judge to the fact that the wine thought to be an 18 hum-dinger on the re-taste is actually the 12 point clanger tasted during the first trip down the flight.”

Wine-makers support the call for technology during competitions. “It would lead to greater transparency,” one wine-maker said. “Generally we just get told by the judges how good or kak we are. It would be great to actually see the judges tasting and discussing the wines that end up winning trophies or medals. The shrivel of an excited nose, the wince of disgust, a smile of joy?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-+?-+..witnessing this kind of reaction from judges would add a new dimension to wine judging which is at the moment a one-route exercise where judges do all the work but we wine folk don’t get to see what they are doing.”

Video technology could also eradicate possible collusion of pushy judges who try to impress their will on the rest of the panel as well as those using the Platter Wine Guide to aide them in their descriptions.

“It would be senseless not to use the technology which is available,” the wine judge said. “Who knows, it could even lead to wine judging becoming a spectator sport where we’ll all be winners.”

Darien Morgan

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