Successive server errors dissolved the first day of the Concurso Nacional de Vinhos in Santerém yesterday into chaos. But this was no sommelier meltdown like our own Fundi fiasco, but rather the Millennium Bug arrived in rural Portugal eleven years late as the all-singing, all-dancing distributed judging computer network fell over, several times.
The four day tasting kicked off with a 90 minute delay followed by half an hour of explanations on how to tick your boxes and send them through to the panel chair. First appearances reveal a digital implementation of the 100 point Concours Mondial system. Complemented on a snappy system, the techie said “yes, we developed it ourselves and want to sell it overseas.”
Click the Union Jack if you want an English translation although “limpidity” and “genuineness” could do with some more explanations. Click on help and “no help is available.” But as scores from the 800 wines being evaluated mounted up, the system got slower and slower and eventually fell over with multiple server errors.
By the time lunch rolled round, we had processed 16 wines out of 40 although the human servers carried on pouring samples and without the means of communicating our scores to the digital server, samples quickly became confused between tasters. “Let’s finish the final four and call it a day” offered the panel chair from Brazil. “But I have five” exploded Roy from Seattle. I kept looking around for the hidden camera from Candid Camera.
“This is the last time I’m doing this” said the cellar master from Dao over dinner last night. “It was the same story last year and we were on pencils by the second day. They had a system test last month and declared it OK but I was there and it didn’t work then, either.”
A wine writer from Lisbon called it a scandal, as the show is funded by a €2 million government/industry grant before sponsorships and entry fees. Perhaps South Africa, masters in the logistics of wine shows, can lend a hand or maybe invite the Concours Mondial next year to run the show. After all, they will be in town holding their own competition up the road in Guimarães.
Interesting that the Europeans are as incompetent at running wine judging events as the South Africans.
When are you returning to SA Mr.P?
Your country needs you.
Interesting to see that the Europeans can be as incompetent at organising wine competitions as South Africans.