Affairs of the Vine 7th Annual Pinot Noir Shoot Out


Affairs of the Vine, the California-based wine education and corporate team building events organization, recently completed its 7th Annual Pinot Noir Shoot Out.This unique annual event brings together hundreds of Pinot Noirs from California and across the world for evaluation and special recognition.The evaluation of the wines is carried out by panels of tasters consisting of winemakers, sommeliers wine writers and other wine professionals. This year some 57 judges participated in the process which involved the evaluation of 267 Pinot Noirs from California, Australia, New Zealand,Hungaryand elsewhere. The Shoot Out is managed by Affairs of the Vine CEO, Barbara Drady, who brings enthusiasm and professionalism to the tastings.

As a partner of Affairs of the Vine, the i-WineReview lends its technical and operational support for the shoot outs and other AOTV activities.I thus participated as one of 23 judges who were given the job of evaluating 64 wines that reached the final round of the competition.The judges met in San Francisco on January 19-just prior to the inauguration of Barrack Obama -and we completed our work in time to enjoy the inaugural celebrations the following day!!Our work was not easy-judging wines never is–but it certainly was enjoyable!By the way, the judges in this competition evaluate the wines blind and on their own and don’t negotiate scores as they often do in other competitions.

The results of the Shoot Out will be announced soon by Affairs of the Vine.Suffice it to say at this point that the competition brought together some attractive wines from producers all over the world and confirmed to me that Pinot Noir is alive and well outside of Burgundy.What was particularly striking to me was the wide range of styles of Pinot Noir being produced today in California from big Syrah-like wines to delicate Burgundian ones.Likewise,I was amazed by the number of up and coming small wineries that are currently crafting Pinot Noir. With more and more producers getting into the game, California is perhaps the most dynamic Pinot Nor-producing region in the world today.

I will be looking forward to the results of the Shoot Out.On April 5, Affairs of the vine will also hold a Pinot Noir Summit in Marin County to give Pinot lovers from the general public the opportunity to taste the top 40 wines blind and compare their impressions with those of the judges.There will also be workshops and receptions, at which wines are paired with food.

I will be particularly interested in learning whether there are meaningful differences in the evaluations of the wines between women and men judges.Barbara Drady believes there are notable differences in the way women and men judge wines.I also believe there are differences, but I can’t prove it and it sounds sexist.

Mike Potashnik


International Wine Review

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