My First Day as a Judging Taster at FEMINALISE Wine Competition
The Féminalise is an international wine competition that takes place every year in the early spring in the heart city of the famous Burgundy region, in Beaune, France.
During the one day of judging, hundreds of tasters, professionals from the wine industry and as well as experienced consumers, gather to taste and judge thousands of wine samples from around Europe.
But what’s special about Feminalise?
Unlike any other international wine competition, Feminalise is only judged by women.
So, in 2016 for example, about 700 female tasting judges sniffed, sipped, and spitted 3817 wines (yes, that’s the official number).
This is a lot of wine women and a lot of wines gathered all at once in the same spot!
For the new 2017 edition that will take place on 6th April, new records will be broken as more than 900 female judges are expected to join the wine-swirling troups, from nearly 20 different countries.
There will be a lot of first-timers then!
To know more about what it feels like to get to the Feminalise competition as a judge for the first time, and to help the many women that will be there in a couple of weeks, I have asked Stephanie of Feminalise’s PR department to give us an insight into a typical first day for a new wine judge at the competition.
This is what it feels like:
Today is my first time ever at the Feminalise World Wine Competition in Burgundy, France. I have never seen such a huge line of women-only wine people… We need to wait for the registration and get our badges with the judging-table placement. I heard we are 900 tasters today at the blind tastings! And they announce more than 4500 wines to be judged! Crazy.
Wow… with a coffee and typical French croissant I can meet women from all over the world. Here this importer from China, she’s a sommelier and is amazing. There, a producer – oenologist from Germany. I can meet women from Burgundy too!
I feel like we are in a giant classroom; everyone facing one way. We are 3 at each table, one next to each other. I discover that even at the same table, we don’t even have the same wines to taste so we can’t influence each other. I am starting to feel stressed out. The wine tasting sheet is rather complete and I need to give marks for each wine’s aspect, nose, and taste, as well as tasting notes for each sample.
It is weird to know that other women somewhere else in this room will be tasting and evaluating the same wines but I don’t know who. Will I be able to do it correctly? I know perfectly the wines, I studied them and I have been working in a restaurant serving them for 2 decades… but still… It is a little daunting!
Some are amazing, some are more ordinary. I do my best though to evaluate them in respect to the men and women who spent time, energy, and passion to make them.
I am amused by the waiters as they seem to be dancing a waltz. My wines are served by the glass! They don’t put the bottles on the table so I have never seen that many waiters.
The Feminalise team blocks us when we get out so we have to hand over the tasting sheet. Then off to a shooting with everybody and then… lunch!! And what a treat!
That is so “LA FRANCE”! This is delicious!
We have the choice between several activities – cultural visits in Beaune or spa/facial treatments. The organization is awesome. They say they want us to feel in a good mood so we evaluate the wines in the best possible conditions….
We are on the same page here! Indeed, wine is a matter of taste but above all of emotions and experiences… the art of wine.
Same waltz of waiters; different wines. I am feeling great, evaluating these wines and meeting all these women. Most of them are great professionals. We talk about the fact that to be a women is not always easy but it seems to be the case in any industry.
Here, it’s such a paradox. There are only women which allows us to express our tasting skills and abilities without feeling questioned just from the fact that we are females.
I loved the atmosphere, the feeling of respect for the wines and for the people I have met. Such an interesting network. We finish by an “aperitif”, we laugh, talk about the wines and… this is it, already finished!
I will definitely come back next year and I’ll keep in touch with the amazing women I’ve met.
Thank you Féminalise, and more importantly thanks to the producers: women AND men!
For more info, you can learn about this event at Feminalise World Wine Competition – Wines Judged by Women.
This Guest post was written by Feminalise exclusively for Social Vignerons.