Jorge Monteiro, ViniPortugal’s leading man, doesn’t hide his discontent regarding my blogging skills (or lack of). And I do appreciate his public attitude. In fact, Mr. Monteiro is probably right. Recently he told me he would expect unpleasant reaction as he confirmed me the launch of Wines of Portugal Wine Contest (Concurso Vinhos de Portugal), edition#2.
Let me recall my doubts regarding this expensive and ineffective quest:
- Regarding the strategy, should ViniPortugal and all Portuguese Wine Institutes discuss their financial and time consuming support to Concurso Vinhos de Portugal? I share some numbers with you: More than 1000 samples were assessed during last year’s competition and I praise the new record high. But the same amount of Portuguese wine samples were assessed at Mondial Bruxelles. So why do we need 250 Portuguese-generated-and-worldwide-unknown medals if only a single well-known International competition will award almost the same amount of commendations (results already available)? Ask last year winners what good and biz came out of this venture.
- I do think that some other Portuguese Associations, Private Own Companies and Individuals do get some profit out of this Concurso Vinhos de Portugal; not the Portuguese wine and its producers. In fact I do hope someone wins something out of this scam. Even worse would be a lose-lose venture, referred by Economic Historian Carlo Cipolla as the definition for Stupidity.
- Mr. Monteiro told me that several international opinion leaders will attend this contest. Now, you may think that it is extremely good for the Portuguese wine promotion to invest in such an international judging panel. But I have to disagree. ViniPortugal and Co had the best intention, I am certain, but one thing is to invite panel judges with blind tasting skills and experience. Inversely, ViniPortugal and Co profiled wine writers (Ahmed included?), wine buyers (Ahearne included?) and opinion makers to assess blind at Concurso Vinhos de Portugal. Used to an overall wine experience, including sight (brands, faces of producers, winemakers, winelands shape and uniqueness, typical and modern wineries), smell (wine, wineries, winelands, gastronomy) and taste (wine, water, cigars, eau de vie, Port or Madeira last glass, gastronomy, good and enduring conversation), those adopted judges experienced, during half of this (Portuguese Wine Industry invitational) trip, the beauty and charm of coding numbers: “What an astonishing wine this number 14 was; oh! But the first 4 were really disappointing…” This gathering of expensive page filling wine lovers will now return to their countries without a clue of the brands or regions that each one loved best. So how will you write about a unique wine experience if you don’t know what your best picks were? Intensive and time consuming blind tastings were not designed for wine writers or opinion makers. Would you invite, at your expenses, the world’s best botanical photographer to experience a Portuguese flowerless garden?
We have the same problems in South Africa. WOSA has now hired some UK wine “experts” to talk about South African wine at ProWein in Germany. Unfortunately they are not even as beautiful as the AhAh! Girls. Generic marketing bodies seem to be above the law and take unilateral decisions without proper consultations.
Does anyone imagine France or Germany Wine Institutes acting like this? Are we performing in a Quijote’s novel or do we live in a senseless world?