Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nurse the Hate: I, Wine Judge

I have accepted an invitation to be a judge at the International Wine and Spirits Competition based out of the London area.  First, let me say I know what you are thinking and I agree with you.  Why couldn’t an international wine competition based out of London find someone qualified on that continent instead of a jackass like you getting involved?  I have no idea.  I know their spec material states “The IWSC boasts the most highly qualified and trained group of international judges of any wine and spirits competition.”  It seems unlikely they are talking about me.

I will be judging some French wines.  Let me say that I feel badly for these poor French artisans.  Perhaps they are farming land which has been in their family for hundreds of years.  On the wall of their humble farmhouse is a faded black and white photo of a man with a prodigious mustache standing next to a mule.  It is Pépère Jean-Claude, shortly before he fought for Le Resistance.  It was only through his suffering and dogged effort that the family did not have to sell this land.  It was his son Pierre that modernized the winemaking with new oak casks and education in the latest advancements.  There were many lean years but the family saw themselves as tending this land, not owning it.  Each vintage is a gamble against nature and The Hand of God.  With one hail storm, it can be all swept away.  Through grace and sweat they have created this singular wine representative of place and time.  It is their unique voice.

Unfortunately for them some American jagoff, completely fatigued after playing a rock show thousands of miles away and then jetlagged beyond belief, will then be “judging” them.  I imagine I will be fueled up on insanely expensive coffee and cranky after a long train ride to the facility.  I will lean my head to the glass, slightly hungover after spending too much time at a touristy pub only hours ago, and pronounce like a Roman Emperor “This wine is… a bit clumsy on the nose!”.  And like that, their multi-generational effort will be discarded as my brief attention span has moved on to something else.  It’s a damn shame, but I don’t know what I can do to avoid it at this point.  The die has been cast.

I know there will be a series of “international incidents” at this event.  I have a much less rigid set of ideas concerning a variety of topics than our friends in the UK.  I am anticipating people from the event becoming very frustrated with me every 20 minutes or so.  I am willing to bet me saying things like “Hey man?  What are you so uptight about?” probably won’t help.  It’s not their fault at all.  They have already sent a very thorough set of instructions that I am to follow for each aspect of this event.  I haven’t offered so much as a glance at them.  My plan is very much to show up and see what happens, which would seem to be the exact opposite of the five attachments I have been sent. 

My direct contact for this event has been very friendly.  This is even though I continue to send him very perplexing emails such as asking if there will be a “IWSC Welcomes Greg Miller” banner to greet me at the shuttle area.  I also have some concern in that when I asked him about the dress code and wondering if it was OK to wear a Nine Pound Hammer work shirt with a pair of Chucks, I wasn’t kidding.  Oh well, it’s either that or play up my American roots and do the Uncle Sam On Stilts outfit.  Wish me luck.   


At May 13, 2017 at 7:44:00 PM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

There is nobody more fitting than you sir!


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