I was invited to judge at the Northwest Wine Summit competition on May 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Kelly Schroeder, another BC judge, and I left BC at 5am arriving at the beautiful Historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River Oregon to begin at 1130am sharp.
There were 20 judges in pairs of 4 from Montana, Oregon, Washington and BC. For 3 days we sniffed, sipped and spit over 300 wines each, in 37 categories, including spirits.
Day one, lunch was at noon, ending at 7:30pm. Day 2 breakfast was at 8:30am, lunch was at 2pm, finishing for the day at 7:30pm. Day 3 breakfast at 8:30am, and it was supposed to end at noon, but ran over till 4pm. Thank goodness for the never-ending rotation of apple, mushroom and cracker plates to cleanse our palate and doing double duty as lunch.
The 2 evenings were spent with other wine makers, sommeliers, wine professionals, distributors, retailers and journalists with good food, good fun and wines that we brought to represent something meaningful to us.
Wine maker Bertony from Abbey Creek Vineyard in North Plains Oregon brought a 1948 Muscat. I had never had a wine older than me….I could hardly believe it. It was definitely the highlight!
Sandra Lee, our winemaker was also invited to judge at the Canadian counterpart, and all wines that won gold medals, moved on to the Oregon competition to be re-judged for ‘Best Of’ State or Province, and ‘Best Of’ show.
Parks, the organizer is from Georgia, and along with his 4 helpers, ran a highly organized, meticulous competition. He genuinely cares about each wine being judged fairly.
Some of my favourites were Invictus 2013 Perseus Flagship Bordeaux blend, a 2015 Gewurztraminer Schonburger from Gehringer Brothers, and 2015 Intrique Chardonnay.
It was a very intense 3 days, I met many wonderful wines and wonderful interesting people. It was really hard work and I’m relieved to say invites for this competition only come out every five years….just what I’ll need to recuperate.