CONVERSATIONS WITH EVELYN #4

STAFF TASTINGS 

Periodically we gather our production, sales and administrative staff for formal tastings. We choose a varietal and compare our wine with six others, often local wines. We taste the wines “double blind;” that is we cover the bottles so neither the pourer nor the tasters knows the identity of the wines beforehand. We have each taster list the wines in order of preference, and the wine with the lowest aggregate score is the winner. Before we unveil the wines, we start with the highest score and discuss each wine’s merits/demerits. 

Double Blind Pinot Gris Tasting
Mike Tierney:These tastings keep the salespeople up to date on the competition. What other benefits do you see, Evelyn?
Evelyn White: It’s also an educational tool. By tasting together we develop tasting profiles, whereby we begin to look at wines in a similar way. 
MT: So everybody is on the same page – I get it. More? 
EW: Yes. Tastings are a natural setting to utilize my experience and training in staff development. For example, we can all look at a “corked” wine, and experience first hand a common but often confusing phenomenon. 
MT: In these tastings, how easy is it to identify your own wine? 
EW: I’m usually fairly confident, though by no means infallible. 
MT: Higher points for Taft Street wines? 
EW: Not really. If a wine is well made, I’ll score it accordingly. 
MT: Anything else to say about these tastings? 
EW: I think they reaffirm the general impression of high quality wines originating in the Russian River Valley appellation. Also, it’s interesting to discover alternative winemaking techniques. 
MT: We just had a 2009 Rose of Pinot Noir tasting, and the Taft Street wine was the winner. Congratulations! 
EW: Thanks. It’s a great wine to sip while watching a Giants’ game. 
MT: Or the A’s. Have fun on your upcoming trip to Chile. 
EW: I’ll try.
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