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Jared Skolnick
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The last sentence in my comment above came across incorrectly. More accurately, as my wife trains for the AWS judging program, we are both enjoying the opportunity to taste lots of different wines we might not otherwise have tried on our own.
I found this read to be exceptional thoughtful and thorough considering the subject matter. Most either agree with or disagree with these competitions as a wholesale opinion, and I appreciate that the NYCR saw it valuable to go into great detail. And even more important that everyone has engaged in this dialogue openly. I agree, at least partially, with most of these points. But I want to bring in a slightly different point not often considered in this discussion - that of amateur wine competitions. And how that context can be effectively applied to commercial competitions The American Wine Society has a judging program (and awards competition) that is based on "comparative" judging. Yes, wines are judged blindly. But the wines are grouped by variety, location, style, etc. This is a simple but key difference from what NYCR has issue with above. This was, the factors that become global above, are isolated; and wines are compared to their "peers." I believe that both the amateur and commercial competitions follow the same guidelines, but having only participated as an amateur, I hope I'm correct about this. (Since it is the key link to the NYCR view above.) In the amateur competition, the goal is to score each wine (and reward medals) based on how well the wine showcases the styles and expectations of that kind of wine. In other words, a California Cabernet and a Bordeaux would not be judged against each other, but in their own categories. That alone is important, but to go further, the goal of the amateur competition is to provide guidelines for the producer to improve their product. While I was certainly disappointed to score one point shy of a bronze medal with my first submission, the scoring highlighted, very effectively, where my wine fell short of its "peers". So now, I can attempt to improve upon that effort in the future. I totally agree that a wine should never be considered better/worse/otherwise by a consumer based on medals awarded. But, if used properly, the process can really be an exceptional tool for the producers. And I'd personally hate to see judging disappear since my wife does it and we both really enjoy the tasting opportunities that they present!
As the current owner of their former property, I have a personal attachment to that cheese and adore it. And I can vouch for the skyrocketing popularity of it since the 2005 award. We bought the property from them that year - they moved in order to have more land and more goats so they could make more cheese. TO THIS DAY people still knock on our door asking where they can find the goats!
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Aug 26, 2010