Mid-November saw us return to the International Wine Challenge in London for the first stage of the 2014 competition that has now been split into two parts, with the first ‘Tranche’ being mostly dedicated to Southern Hemisphere producers. This time we found ourselves working at a different location than that of the April 2013 event, the Barbican, where we arrived on a cold, wet Monday morning to begin what would be an intensive fortnight. However, the thought of this was eased by the welcome sight of familiar faces amongst a few newcomers to the crew. It’s strange to think in only April this year we were the newcomers, yet now the new members of the team are coming to us for advice on how to do things and it was nice to know that we could give adequate answers.
The event has been slightly more relaxed than envisaged due to its present size in comparison to the April event, which made for smooth running.
Panel judges at work, alongside Co-Chairs Peter McCombie, Martin Moran, Oz Clarke, Charles Metcalfe, Sam Harrop, Jamie Goode, Richard Bampfield
This year, we were both given positions that had more of a key role to them, which was very exciting as well as a little scary as neither of us wanted any major, or minor, hiccups along the way. Ruth was given the task of ‘Floor Pit Boss’ to ensure the smooth running of the tasting tables, whilst Kel had the position of ‘Dispatch Pit Boss’ whose role it is to oversee the correct dispatch of tasting flights to the tasting tables. Jokes about husband and wife communications swiftly arose as our roles needed to ensure that we made ourselves clearly understood to ensure that the wines arrived at the tables on time. All went well reflecting that this husband and wife team are a perfect match!
The competition week went well and passed by quickly. It was great to meet up with many of the judges again and to witness their expertise at first hand – many red lips and teeth by the end of the competition.
The week was nicely rounded off with a curry dinner all washed down with a nice glass of wine … or two.
The results from this event shall be released on December 4th, so remember to look out for those medals and snap up the wines whilst you can… just in time for Christmas!
Tranche 2 is to be held at The Oval in London, April 2014.