Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Inside the Hudson Valley Wine Competition

If you are a regular reader or follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know that I run the Hudson Valley Wine Competition.

This is a wine competition that is open to all Hudson Valley wineries to enter their wines made from New York fruit.  This year we had a record number of wines, ciders and spirits entered.  124 in total.

Preparing for this wine competition is no easy task.  I begin the beginning of August when I check on the entries to make sure the paperwork matches what is in the case.  Sometimes it doesn't, sometimes there are cases with no paperwork.

Then comes the task of organizing everything.  All entries get put into a spreadsheet that is grouped according to the type of wine entered. Next step is breaking the judges into panels.  For this competition we have 5 panels with three judges per panel.  

Now the hard part is breaking up the wine into flights.  Usually it's per varietal. Sometimes there are a few stragglers or you have to combine some wines to make a flight.  But in any event, the judges know the kind of grape, cider or spirit they are judging.

Once all the flights are decided it's my busy busy work time.  Labels have to be made and put on tuits.  Tuits are paper things that go around the bottom of the wine glass.  During the competition the tuit number must match the number on the wine bottle.  Out on the floor, the tuit number must match the with the corresponding number on the judges sheet.

Then about three days before the competition I spend about 5 hours locked in the store room at Whitecliff Vineyards & Winery all by myself to label the wine and to put the wine in cases by flight and panel. 

After bending and lifting all afternoon, I treated myself the next day to a pedicure so I could sit in the massage chair for an hour and let it work on my aching back!

The day before the competition I unload all the cases and arrange them according to panel in our back room.  Put the wines that need to be chilled in the fridge and set up the first two flights of glasses.

My wonderful back room staff pours the flights and delivers them to the judges, clears the table and brings out the next flight.

What do I do during the competition? Tabulate, tabulate, tabulate!

Hudson Valley News Network did a great piece on the wine festival that included my Hudson Valley Wine Competition.  Here is the clip of the wine competition piece.  If you want to watch all 34 minutes click the link above.


When it's over all the we have a winery of the year, best in show wine, best Hudson Valley Wine made with Hudson Valley fruit, best white, red, rose, sparkling, fruit and dessert wine, cider, spirit.
Awards that were handed out (and listed below according to winery) were 32 Bronze Medals, 33 Silver Medals, 20 Gold Medals and 13 Double Gold Medals.

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