Wine Line: Consumers rate at this judging

02/19/2013 4:25 PM

02/19/2013 4:27 PM

Do you like wine and consider yourself a bit of a wine enthusiast? Would you like to evaluate and judge wines?

Judges are needed for the 5th annual Consumer Wine Awards Competition on March 23 and 24 in Lodi. This competition is unique in that consumers (just like you) judge the wine.

Competitions normally use wine experts as judges, and therein lies the problem. Their professional palates don't always match those of the wine buyer (you again). So why not have independent consumers evaluate wine? This way, wineries get feedback from the people who actually purchase and drink wine.

I wrote about this competition a few years ago, and I think it makes sense. Wineries should be listening to the consumer, and this event gives them that opportunity. The program is sponsored by the Lodi Tokay Rotary Club, and proceeds benefit the service organization's charitable work. Winners will be announced March 30, and an awards ceremony will follow in April. If interested, visit www.consumerwineawards.com.

Just remember, keep your nose and pinkie finger down.


Adios, Chuck

In a previous column I said goodbye to Two Buck Chuck because the Bronco Winery raised the price from $1.99 to $2.49. After eleven years and 600 million bottles sold, I said a 50-cent increase shouldn't bother the faithful TBC fans. So now, at $2.49, what should we call the Charles Shaw brand? I suggested we call it "Charlie's Wine for Two-Forty-Nine." A wino friend suggested we call it the "Upped Chuck," which I thought was a bit tacky and crude.

What do you think? What's a good/catchy name for a wine that sells over 5 million cases a year?

Send in your suggestions and I will personally buy the winner a bottle of Charlie's wine.


What's on our table

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest American wine judging in the world and, in my opinion, one of the most reliable. The wine categories are divided by price, which means a $12 wine does not compete against a $50 wine. Three Best of Class awards went to wines that I've written about in Wine Line and are terrific values. Wine does not have to cost mega-bucks to be good. The best viognier (up to $19.99) is the 2011 Trader Moon, sold only at Trader Joe's for $5.99.

The winery has access to Monterey County grapes and all of the wines it makes in the Moon series are an excellent choice. The best muscat went to the non-vintage Barefoot Cellars Moscato, which sells for $6.99. This wine was a hands-down favorite at a tasting I did for the Atwater Women's Club.

The best white blend (up to $14.99) went to the 2011 Big House White. This is an interesting blend of about a dozen different white wines. It retails for $9.99.

All of these Best of Class winners are available in local markets. Usually they're on sale and discounted even more if you buy six. To discover more award-winning wines from the SF Chronicle Wine Competition, visit www.winejudging.com. Cheers!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Find me on Facebook or at rgwinton@yahoo.com.

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