A short while ago the people at The Peoples Choice Wine Awards started to seek out some consumers who would like to be considered as judges for this years awards.
The whole point of the ‘Peoples Choice’ awards, is that it’s every day wine drinkers that are asked along to help judge a selection of wines, submitted for judging by a growing number of importers, wine makers and sellers.
I was therefore delighted to be asked along to help the Round One judging which took place in Manchester earlier this week.
I am a big wine lover and I like to try as many different ones as I can and although I’ve done various wine tastings around the world at vineyards etc, I have received no formal training whatsoever. But then that’s the point of these awards, they help every day consumers make an informed decision about the wines sitting on the shelves in the supermarkets that they frequent.
Round One consisted of 100’s of wines, split into a number of different categories, these include Girls Night In, Fabulous Fizz (3 Separate Categories for Champagne, Sparkling Wine UK and Sparkling Wine (Rest of the World), One Man and His BBQ, War of the Roses and many others including wines to pair with Light/Hearty/Mid-week meals etc.
The Categories are again designed to help people choose the right wine for the right occasion. With so many wines to taste, the Round One Judges were split onto different tables and given 3 Categories each to Judge – Our table, headed by Paul Hernandez were asked to judge:-
Faboulous Fizz – Champagne
Boxing Clever – ‘The Best of Bag in Box Wines’
Food Friendly Wines – Hearty Meals :- Red wines that compliment rich or complex dishes, including barbecued food, stews and hard, strong flavoured cheese.
Each of the tables had a mixture of people with varying experience, from Industry Experts, those with WSET 1/2 or 3 Qualifications and then – the little ole wine drinker ME.
Working our way through the 30+ wines on our tables, we noted, and marked each wine for Smell, Colour, Balance, Quality, If we would buy it and if it fitted the category – each wine given a score out of 50.
All the scores were then added together, with the top scorers going onto the shortlist ready for the expert Round Two judges to score the following day.
The evening was great fun and it was really interesting to speak to so many other wine lovers, some of whom have made their love, their careers.
But WAIT … That’s not all!!!!
Towards the end of the evening I was approached and asked if I would take part in Round Two of Judging the following day, as one of 4 ‘Super tasters’ that had been picked out on the night.
I was overwhelmed to be chosen and that my taste bud’s were helping others to choose their wine in the future.
I headed back into town the following day, this time to taste the shortlisted wines and help to pick the final winners. This was taken it to a whole new level.
Again we were split onto two tables, along with other super taster Claire, we were joined by Wine Extraordinaire Amelia Singer, Peter Ranscombe and wine blogger PleaseBringMeMyWine as well as Host Janet and WSET competition winner Kirsty.
This time we were given half the categories per table and we started to remark all the wines. The company was fun and many laughs were had in gaps between the serious task of scoring each wine, again out of 50.
After the 35 or so shortlisted wines had been tasted and marked our work was done – however up until now, we have no idea what we had tasted and marked.
Each wine was completed covered, every one was blind tasted, with no idea of its origin, variety, price or anything else. So everything was scored without any prejudice.
The shortlisted wines will be announced later this month, with the final winners announced at an awards ceremony in Feb. Each winner will also be receiving an amazing piece of artwork drawn by one of the other Round 2 Judges, the incredible Tony Husband !
I can’t thank the People’s Choice Wine Awards enough for this incredible experience – Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the shortlist and winners, I know I will be.