My 2011 Fair Entries
August 3, 2011
Well, fair season is upon me. Strangely, for having more than a year under my belt, I wasn’t quite prepared to enter into the fairs this year. Both my husband and I took the approach of “what is worthy of entering?” And “what do we want feedback on?” I settled on three total:
- An early fall 2010 still dry cider
- A late fall 2010 sparkling cider
- A 2010 raspberry wine made with a little bit of lemonade
First thing I want to note is that the Clark County Fair uses the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP) to judge cider, mead, and even apple wine, which is another rant for another blog about how this annoys me. The thing was, I was bound and determined to get one of my ciders over in the wine judging, where it would be more fairly judged. Hence the still dry “apple wine” entry. Last year, having my lone cider entry judged as a beer was a real disservice to it. It got entered that way because I didn’t really know better, and one of the junior staff members sort of pushed me that way. This year, I insisted that I make an entry into the wine competition, and one of the senior staff members agreed that was probably better.
I still entered a sparkling cider into the beer competition because I’m actually going to be serving that particular cider in the beer event MashFest later this month , and I thought I would get a little feedback on it sooner rather than later from beer drinkers. Thing is, I bottled it about nine days before the judging and I did a bottle conditioning, which may not be enough time and could have used at least five days more for the competition. For MashFest, it will have an entire month.
So, a good experiment would have been to try to enter the same cider in both the beer and wine competition, but I didn’t like the carbonated version of the still cider, and I didn’t make a still version of the sparkling cider. Maybe I’ll be more on the ball next year.
Last year, I spent quite a bit of time making labels for competition. I’m not supposed to have a label on the bottle entered in the beer competition, and I just reworked last year’s label for the still cider for the wine competition. Otherwise, I just grabbed a picture from the internet for the raspberry wine. More importantly, I just printed on paper and used scotch tape to adhere it. When I was judging last year, I noticed how people would just scribble on paper and then tape it, and honestly, it didn’t matter if the label was fancy or not. Don’t get me wrong, I still wanted it to look nice, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on something that really didn’t matter that much. Secondly, the stupid labels I used last year, which claim to come off with water, took some major soaking with chemicals to get it off. I think I was able to create something that looked almost as nice, but won’t take so much elbow grease to get it back off.
Posts on the topic from 2010:
- Bottling Bell Pepper Peach Wine for Competition
- Labeling for Competition
- My Experience Judging Wine for the Fair
- Wine Tasting: Clark County Fair Beer and Wine Results