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- Jenaroo - 05-09-1999 09:50 PM

What do you all think about the Show judging system. How does it impact on the consumer?


- Jerry D Mead - 05-10-1999 05:47 AM

It has been about a decade since I judged down under...once at the Adelaide Show and once at the New Zealand National.

At that time (and things certainly could have changed) I found two serious flaws with the Aussie system especially.

I particularly did not like the system of permitting so-called "Show Reserve" wines to compete...a winery makes one barrel of super old fortified Muscat and re-enters the same wine every year for two or three decades...never mind no one can buy the stuff and that the judges come to the table with a preconceived notion that "Chateau Old Brown and Mucky" is going to win the trophy...and when asked why it is the winner one is told...because it always wins. Well, you can't speak to highly for tradition, I suppose.

And from my perspective as an international judge, some of the wines they were giving silvers and bronzes to were far superior to most of the golds. Which brings up one of the other flaws to my observation...that being that the same panel of judges works together year after year, and always judge the same category of wine.

So once again you have preconceived attitudes about which wines, or at least which styles of wines, are going to win. The panel is sort of trapped...I mean, if they've been awarding the big, overripe, too high in alcohol, oxidized reds for ten years, they'd have to admit they had been wrong in the past if they all of a sudden started recognizing elegance and complexity over power and stuffing.

I'm sure there have been some changes in the system, just as there have been dramatic changes in the wines over the past decade...but that's my opinion based on personal experience then...and is perhaps why I haven't been invited back. I wrote rather critically at the time...not about the wines, but about the system.

All of that said...I think wine competitions in general are helpful to consumers by sorting the wheat from the chaf (sp?)...something most consumers lack the time, funds or opportunity to do.

JDM