• Wine Diary Highlights for October 2019

    Wine Diary Highlights for October 2019

    There are lots of trade and consumer events in the diary for October 2019.  A few key events are highlighted below.

    Alliance Wines Christmas tasting will take place in Lock’s Restaurant on October 3rd. Invitation only.

    The Irish Wine Show Star Wine Awards will be announced by NoFFla at their trade show SIP 2019 Irish Wine Awards on October 7th.  This is invitation only and is open to NoFFla members.

    SPIT 2019 Portfolio tasting, this independent groups fifth tasting will take place on Thurs 24th October, 2019 at the Chocolate Factory Art Centre.

    Ribera del Duero will hold at open pour tasting on October 24rd  at O’Briens Wine School in Donnybrook.

    Pembroke Wines will hold their 2019 Portfolio tasting on Tuesday 29th October, 2019 in the Cliff Townhouse Hotel on Stephen’s Green.

    October 23rd Ribera del Duero Open Pour
    Oct24th SPIT Trade Tasting
    Oct 29th Pembroke Wines Tasting
    Copyright © 2002-2019 Jean Smullen

    mailing address is:

  • The Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship

    The Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship

    About The Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship:

    The Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship is awarded annually to a selected writer with a passion for wine and an ambition to pursue a career in wine writing and journalism. The Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellow (“Fellow”) will receive:

    1.  A grant of $3,000 to help fund travel and research in a wine region that will be mutually agreed upon with Vinous

    2.  Mentoring from the Vinous team

    3.  The opportunity to have your work published on Vinous

    Submission Guidelines:

    1.  A cover letter that describes your interest in wine and your career goals in the field

    2.  A current resume

    3.  Details of your intended use of the grant, including proposed travel destination and article(s) you expect to write

    4.  Links to published articles, including blog posts

    5.  An original wine related article of 1,000 to 1,500 words. The subject matter can be on anything to do with wine including, but not limited to, your experience of a particular wine, a visit to a producer or region, wine service and/or social commentary related to wine. Photographs and captions are not included as part of the word count. Selected applicants may also be given an opportunity to have their original works published on Delectable and/or Vinous.


    Candidates must be between the ages of 21 and 35 (both inclusive) as of the submission date.

    All submissions for the 2019 Fellowship must be received by November 30, 2019 at fellowships@vinousmedia.com

    The recipient of the 2019 Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship will be announced in January 2020.

    Submissions will be evaluated by the Vinous editorial team. All decisions are final.

    Vinous retains all rights to writings by the Fellow that emerge as a result of travels funded by the Fellowship. The destination and travel period will be mutually agreed upon by the Fellow and Vinous. Vinous has the option, but not the obligation, to publish the Fellow’s articles as part of the Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship program.

    Vinous does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation or marital status.

    The information above is accurate as of September 18, 2019 and is subject to change.

  • Testing times: the untold story behind the Master Sommelier exam scandal


    Attica wine director Jane Lopes was stripped of her Master Sommelier title.Attica wine director Jane Lopes was stripped of her Master Sommelier title. Photo: Simon Schluter

    Attica wine director Jane Lopes proved her mastery as a sommelier, only to have the recognition stripped away.

    The Master Sommelier exam is considered the hardest exam in the world. It has a fiendishly low pass-rate, and since the first exam in 1969, only 262 people have passed the exam globally. (Well, there are currently 262 Master Sommeliers; 280 people have actually passed the exam – more on that later).

    The Masters exam is the fourth and final level in a series of exams offered through the Court of Master Sommeliers. It is composed of three parts: an oral theory exam, a service portion, and a blind tasting of six wines in 25 minutes.

    Candidates spend upwards of a decade, tens of thousands of dollars, and countless hours of study, practice and preparation to pass the exam. Once a candidate passes, they are a Master Sommelier for life (at least until recently – again, more on that later). There is no recertification, no further requirements for membership. One crosses immediately from mentee to mentor, from student to teacher, from candidate to Master. New Masters are publicly celebrated, revered for their determination and skill, offered pay rises and new positions, asked to teach and educate, and immediately welcomed into a superlative realm of professional achievement.

    I passed the exam on September 5, 2018.

    It was easily the hardest week of my life. I once read a quote that you’ll often look back on the hard times as being some of the most beautiful. These were not those times. The days leading up to, during, and after the exam were just plain miserable. I wasn’t sleeping more than a few hours each night, my stomach was in constant revolt, and I wavered between bouts of panic attacks and crying spells. Mental and physical health problems had plagued me most of my adult life, tending to flare up in high pressure situations. Not easy to admit, and perhaps not “masterly”, but…the truth.

    Lopes: 'Oddly enough, I do look back on these hard times as being beautiful.'
    Lopes: ‘Oddly enough, I do look back on these hard times as being beautiful.’ Photo: Wayne Taylor

    Even after the exam was over – even after I was crowned a Master Sommelier – my mind and body hovered in residual panic. I still had trouble sleeping and eating for weeks after. While congratulatory emails, messages and calls rolled in, I had a hard time enjoying the post-pass glow. “How does it feel?! It must feel AHHHHHMAZING!” was the constant refrain. I would do my best to muster a believable, “Yes, of course, amazing!” all the while still trembling inside from the trauma of it all.

    But at least I could take solace in the fact that it was over. I wouldn’t have to endure a week like that ever again.