As California Wine Czar William Jefferson Clinton prepares to throw out the first grape to commence the state’s first-ever Wine Olympiad next week, the contestants are beginning to trickle in to the site of the competition, Yountville in Napa County.
Over the course of six days, judges will evaluate and score thousands of wines during the team competition event. Wineries will be submitting their best five wines from their current vintage release in hopes of garnering the inaugural gold medal. The panel of nine judges will score each wine from a possible low of 51 points to a possible high of 100. Simple math will determine the winner: the winery with the highest point total for its five submitted wines will take home the gold.
The entrance of the much-ballyhooed and highly decorated Barebond Winery of Kern County caused quite a stir yesterday. Winning a record number of gold medals already this year, the five-wine lineup, nicknamed “The Dream Team” by the press and public, is the odds on favorite to run away with the competition.
A spokesperson for Barebond was interviewed by reporters. “We’re just going to pop our corks and pour, just like any other competition. We respect our opponents. We know what we have to do and it’s gonna be tough but we’re confident. In order to win we have to do better than everyone else. Otherwise we can’t call ourselves winners.”
There’s a strong sentimental favorite in the running, however. Starrken Vineyards uncommon 2006 bottling of their nesbitt grape has many outspoken and zealous supporters. Starrken, as you may recall, was recently invaded under orders from Czar Clinton and the world’s last remaining nesbitt grapes were torn out from the land, to be planted over to pinot noir and chardonnay. Sadly, the 2006 vintage will be the last ever.
Meanwhile, several wineries expressed a bit of apprehension over what they termed “intimidating tactics” used by Twisted Oak Winery of Calaveras County.
“Their people are walking around like pirates, saying ‘bwa ha ha’ and ‘arrr’ to everyone. It’s disconcerting,” whispered one winery rep that refused to be identified.
“Not only that, they’re all wearing eyepatches and telling everyone that they’re going to be conducting ‘half-blind’ wine tastings,” complained another anonymous participant. “And those buttons they’re wearing – what the %#*&$! do they mean, anyway?? It’s scary.”
A third distraught competitor chimed in, “They slapped me with a chicken.”
While the Olympic Committee investigates the legality of this matter, we’ll continue to bring you up-to-date coverage of this exciting event. Stay tuned!