|Grocer and Wine Merchant, Corti Bros. Stores|
|Viticulture and Enology Consultant|
|Owner/Winemaker, Scott Harvey Wines|
|Ed Moody||Director of Winemaking, Retired, Bronco Wine Company|
|Winemaster, Professor of Enology, Retired, CSU Fresno|
|Past GM/Winemaker, Woodbridge, Robert Mondavi Winery|
|Winemaker, Instructor, Author of Postmodern Winemaking|
Why have a Technical Advisory Panel?
“What are these Technical Judges I keep hearing about? Who are they and why should I care?” (Question asked of Chief Judge, *G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski regarding the Bottle Shock Open.)
After Judging and Managing both commercial and Home winemaking competitions for over 30 years — I have concluded that there are more than a few differences. For instance, at the commercial level, obviously the stakes are much higher. Winning or losing can mean serious money for the commercial winery. Winning or losing for a Home Winemaker, while hurtful to the pride, won’t make or break, financially, a winemaker. If you get a bad score, it won’t stop you from trying harder next year.
When Judging commercial competitions, because of the amount of wines entered, judges may have to give their opinion on over 100 or even up to 160 wines in one day. There is barely enough time to even “talk” briefly about a certain wine, let alone the time to write extensive notes. It’s actually a little easier to judge since there is no time to get into many details about any one wine — you simply have to determine if the wine should get a Gold, Silver, Bronze or No medal. Fairly cut and dry.
When judging home wine competitions, there is rarely that many wines entered, but more importantly, the opinion of the judges — not just the score the wine gets — is much more valuable to the home winemaker. Many competitions don’t understand this point. With the Bottle Shock Open, we’ve devised an amateur wine competition where the judges will only average tasting about 50 or less wines in a day. Plenty of time to write notes, discuss with other panel members and seriously evaluate a wine.
Even here there exists a potential problem. Most judges are not trained to give extensive notes. This is not easy. In fact, it’s damn hard. This is why we created a Technology Advisory Panel. This panel of seven professional Technology Advisors will roam the tasting/judging room during the competition — commenting, assisting and educating the Core Judges on wines that may need further technical assistance and advice.
Obviously, some judges are more knowledgable about wines and winemaking because of their life experiences. So to raise the quality and increase the knowledge of all judges and to insure more correct evaluations and advice for the home winemaker, these Technical Advisors are giving advise and sharing their expertise.
This vital feedback will serve to educate and thereby improve the skills of the amateur winemaker and the quality of their wines, while also increasing the knowledge and abilities of the Core Wine Judges. No other Home Winemaking Competition has these experts roaming the judging floor giving assistance to the professional core judges.
*G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski had been the Chief Judge for 26 years for the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition and 7 years for the Home Winemaking Competition. He also manages the Consumer Wine Awards and is excited about starting this brand new home competition, The Bottle Shock Open, to serve the needs of Home Winemakers across America!