I am officially tired. The last two days of the International Wine Challenge have been fun, but hard work. It takes a lot of concentration to judge wines well, and for the last two days we have been into week 2, where we get to award medals to the wines that survived last week’s cut.
I can reassure any producers out there who have entered: every wine really does get a fair chance. There are 4 or 5 judges on each table, and the opinion of each counts. This week, even if just one or two of the five think a wine is of silver or gold medal quality, then it will be discussed extensively. No wines are dismissed on a whim. There are no hasty judgements. And then, after the medals have been awarded on the tasting floor, the flights are checked by the six co-chairs out the back.
Lord’s is proving to be an excellent venue, although we haven’t yet been tested by high temperatures: it has remained wet and chilly. I’m getting used to the commute, and also to catching up with my work in the evenings. It reminds me of 1999-2008, when all my wine writing was done in addition to a regular day job as a science editor. In some ways I miss the structure of a regular pattern of work, although I don’t miss this feeling of being extremely tired.
I’m back to Lord’s tomorrow and Thursday, and then on Monday for the second day of trophy judging. Now I have an article on Stellenbosch to complete, hot on the tails of a Sunday Express column on Italian wine.