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Wine Tasting to be an Olympic Event
email this pageprint this pageemail usEd Schwartz - PVNN
January 19, 2010

Forget yoga, we want wine tasting to be an Olympic event. More people drink wine than do yoga.
Scoff, if you wish, but if two Yoga experts in Los Angeles (of course) have their way, Yoga soon will be an Olympic event. If so, I think we should start right now to agitate for wine as well. More people drink wine than do Yoga, so what is fair is fair.

The Yoga inclusion was bound to happen. In 1996, the humor magazine, The Onion, described in detail the "first international Yoga championship."

According to The Onion, a brash Yoga expert, Sri Dhananhjai Bikram, won the six-part event, although many in the crowd were disturbed when after his victory he pumped his fists, ran around the track and yelled, "No one is serener than Sri Dhananhjai Bikram I am the greatest monk of all." In one of the events he achieved Nirvana faster than any other monk in history 17.56 seconds! He also set a record in the lotus throw and breath-holding events. He credited his win to special training - one super-charged, carbo-loaded grain of rice per day. Now, life may be following art.

Forget yoga, we want wine tasting to be an Olympic event. More people drink wine than do yoga.

I perceive the wine Olympic event in at least 10 parts we can call it the Baccusalon. Here are some suggestions for the Olympic committee.

1. Silly wine descriptors: Contestants battle to come up with 10 entirely new wine descriptors. Contestants also need to explain what these descriptors actually mean in English. Creativity and clarity count for style points.

2. The Robert Parker Speed Wine Tasting: In this arduous event, participants must taste 100 wines, assign numerical scores to each one and then write 100 word tasting notes on each wine. Winner is the first one to finish both tasting and writing. Again, the writing must be at a high level. Excellent grammar counts.

3. Riedel Glass Perception: Blindfolded contestants are given the same complex red wine in 10 different Riedel glasses lined up in front of them. They sniff and taste, but cannot hold the glass. Critics must rank the wines according to which glass produces the best taste. Hopefully someone will assign the proper glass for that wine. Since no one can "feel" the glass, we might use Riedel straws.

4. Residual Sugar: Each participant is confronted with 10 different glasses of late harvest or ice wines. Each person then notes the degree of residual sugar. If within .5 degrees the judge is given credit for a correct answer. Winner also gets free dental service for a year.

5. Barrel Distinction: Each entrant gets 10 glasses of Chardonnay. He or she must then determine if the oak aging in any particular glass was accomplished by real oak barrels, wood chips or staves.

6. The Feast of Cana Award: Open to winemakers whose job it will be to use no grapes in trying to replicate a wine. Product that tastes most like a real wine wins the gold medal. Awards for a red, white and sparkling wine.

7. Trichloroanisole (TCA) Perception: Here, wine critics will be given six wines with almost imperceptible levels of TCA and must determine which wines have it, and which wines do not...

8. Wine and Food Pairing: Each critic is given a list of 500 main courses from all over the world, then has to find the perfect wine for that dish. No repeats.

9. Spit Bucket Accuracy: Contestants taste red wine, swirl it and then spit it out into an official Olympic wine bucket from 3 feet, 5 feet and 10 feet. Points are awarded for accuracy and style. This is an arduous event and excitement will mount as the distance increases. Contestants must wear white pants.

10. Wine Bore Marathon: Contestants must continuously talk about wine until all but three collapse. Hand gestures may be used.

We welcome other ideas. Write to ejsprwine(at) and we will include it in the presentation to the committee. With a compelling presentation we will prevail.

Ed Schwartz has been involved in many aspects of fine wine for 30 years and has worked with top wineries in California, Italy and France. His writings on wine, food and travel have appeared in the SF Chronicle, LA Times and Image magazine.

Click HERE for more articles by Ed Schwartz

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