If I was judging a competition where the rules were clearly being flouted, what would I do? This was the situation for those judging the Michelangelo International Wine Awards last year. There was clearly much discussion among the palates and after hearing disturbing rumours, I contacted several Solomons and was rewarded with a catalogue of alleged irregularities, some of which I’ve blogged about ad nauseum on this site. I was also generously vouchsafed a get-out-of-jail-free card as one judge said “Please do not use my name, although if they sue you or something, I will stand up for you.”
Yet most judges I e-mailed, ignored me and some even defended the proceedings. But as one e-mailed “I don’t know if it’s a rip-off of the South African wine industry, that’s for you guys to say. What really pisses me off to no end is that tasters see most of this but are willing to put up with anything just to get invited to South Africa and are then licking the organizers’ asses all the time in order to get re-invited in the future. It is disgusting.”
Well said, deep throat! I posted a serious piece on some problems with wine shows on the www.winenews.co.za site on Monday and was rewarded with a tweet from that master of marketing, Mike Ratcliffe, calling it “brilliant” and a smaller than usual torrent of malicious and irrelevant comments by low lifes and the inadequate. When the editor and I objected to the abuse, I was slapped down on Twitter by an MW who was a Michelangelo judge. Do these freeloaders have no shame? The least they could do is keep quiet, something the MW who came to judge the Trophy Wine Show with the worst case of ‘flu ever, should have done, instead of boasting about how it was all done by mouthfeel!
With a flood of foreign MWs expected in the coming weeks, producers considering funding these fiascos should ask themselves why do we need to pay for these expensive useful idiots when we have plenty of our own looking for employment? The only reason I can think of is to increase the jollity and hilarity of nations, which they certainly do.