Perhaps no other beverage is pampered and cared for like wine. It is given royal treatment, from the time it is aged, bottled and stored all the way to the techniques in which it is poured and sipped. Such factors as temperature, sunlight and type of glass in which it is poured can alter the important qualities of a fine wine.
Thatís why great care is taken even before wine judges have a chance to sample entries at the L.A. County Fairís annual Wines of the World competition. This yearís competition will take place May 12-14 at the Millard Sheets Gallery at Fairplex in Pomona.
Judges will work to select winners in a variety of divisions. If there is one or more of those wines earning gold medal status that all the judges agree is truly outstanding, it is considered for a best of class award. Awards will be determined and announced on May 14.
From arrival to the actual date of pouring, wine is stored in the wine cellar on the grounds at Fairplex for more than a month, allowing the wine to settle after shipping. Wine is unpacked and checked for clarity, cloudiness and sediment. Entries are then cataloged with random judging codes and placed on storage racks within the cellar. Each wine is separated by division and class. The wines remain in their individual storage racks until the day they are pulled to be judged.
Wine from the cellar is pulled each day of judging according to the schedule of the wine tasting. After the wine arrives at the judging, it is placed in designated areas where wine servers have cleaned and coded the proper wine glasses. The wine is then carefully poured and taken to each judge.
Each panel of judges will taste all of the wines in one class, then discuss their findings. If the wines are judged to have merit, then they will be evaluated further or if the specific class being judged is small enough, a medal could be awarded at that time. Later, judges confer on wines that have received gold medals, and if they concur, the wine is named best of class.
The public will have the opportunity to test the tastes of the judges against their own at this yearís L.A. County Fair, which will be held Sept. 10-26. A wine education program is offered at The Vineyard. The program includes an entertaining and educational session of wine judging and award-winning wine tasting. For more information about the Wines of the World competition, visit the Web site at www.fairplex.com, email cellar master Mary Ellen Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the wine department at (909) 865-4231.