The guy in the windbreaker and cap being congratulated by Bob Cowie is amateur winemaker Charles Younger, winner of Best of Show medal at Cowie Wine Cellars' fifteenth annual Amateur Wine Competition. Mr. Younger took home a pocketful of tin from Cowie's this year, including four ounces of silver for individual wines as well as the ounce of gold for Best of Show. Those medals aren't golden and silvered, either. They were gold and silver eagles. Bullion.
Meet the judges. Standing is Kate Cowie, youngest daughter of Bob, assisting judges Justin Morris and Gary Wiederkehr. Gary is of the Wiederkehr family from Wiederkehr Winery in Altus. Dr. Morris is Distinguished Professor, Director of Food Science and Engineering at the Univeristy of Arkansas. Bob tells me he's judged wines all over, including events on the west coast and in Europe.
These judges awarded these honors to these winemakers:
That Miscellaneous category was won by a persimmon wine this year. In the past wines have been entered made from all kinds of things, like jalapenos for instance. The Best of Show wine this year was a concord. In order to enter, contestants must submit one bottle for judging and additional bottles for competitors to drink. It's helpful for the winemakers to compare the judges' evaluations to the actual wine that got evaluated. And the experts themselves held a post-evaluation winemaking seminar in which techniques and problems were discussed -- stuff like fruit selection and topping off one's carboy. There were fourty-one entries. My favorite part? Drinking the losers.