The 15th annual Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is a big deal. It benefits Camp Good Days, a summer camp for children with cancer. This is the world’s largest charitable wine competition. This year the competition was held in Rochester, N.Y., on March 21-22. It was open to commercial wineries and distilleries from all producing countries.
The competition in recent years has drawn 3,750 wines from 20 countries, including six Canadian provinces and all 50 United States. The event includes more than 70 judges from more than a dozen countries, representing Master’s of Wine, Master Sommeliers, sommeliers, educators, enologists, winemakers, writers, importers, retailers and industry consultants.
Each wine is judged on its own merit — its “presence, balance and varietal character — not how it compared to other wines in a particular flight. The wines in the competition are judged for what they are at the time of judging — not what they might become in the future.
It’s a sophisticated competition. Wines are blind-judged in flights, with each wine identified only by a computer-generated code number. Each glass is labeled with this code number and the judges are given a scoring sheet with the number and variety of the wines.
All flights are staged in a separate back room and delivered to a judging room. Re-pours, when necessary, from a second, unopened bottle are also staged in a back room and delivered to the judging room. All wines are presented the judges in Riedel crystal stemware.