We just finished up the judging of the Florida State Fair International Wine Competition on Monday, February 2nd. After a two day rest with my friends in sunny Florida, I returned home from this event last night. And yes, these wines come from everywhere, not just Florida. That’s what ‘international’ means. (If I received a quarter every time I was asked that question, I would be a rich person!)
If it weren’t for the Florida Grape Growers Association, this competition would not exist! It’s amazing how much time and effort they put into this function. We also have more than our fair share of volunteers! They are the ‘behind-the-scene’ worker bees of this event. Yes, the judges are also important, but not too many people know how much work goes into an event of this size.
Three days before the event starts, the volunteers show up to set up tables, rebuild the cabinets that hold the bottles of wine so the fair-goers can see who has entered and who won the medals, receive the cases of wine from the distributor, unpack the 2500+ bottles of wine and check them in, put them in the correct order on the tables, recheck all the entries to make sure they are in the correct classes, call the people who entered wine that was not received, wash all the glasses, and get all the supplies, such as crackers and olives and water and roast beef and spit cups, ready for the (3) days of tasting. There’s also the two people who computerize this whole event, by checking in all the entries…data entry, for months before the rest of us are even thinking about this event. Yes, it’s a remarkable thing to witness. It’s a shame that the Florida State Fair now makes us hold the judging of this event before the fair even opens. People used to stand and watch us sip, slurp, and spit. The most common question? Where do I go to sign up for this job???
For those of you who are interested in finding out which medals were awarded to what wineries from which states…check the link below for all the results.