Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Who IS on this year's Vintners Hall of Fame ballot
Generally I'd rather let other people write about it, and just comment: I know too much.
But rather than let apocrypha creep about this year's ballot, I think it's best that I lay out a few facts.
First, it's true that Robert Parker and Fred Franzia are not on it. What nobody has yet reported to my knowledge is who IS on it. So let's start there.
Vintner's Hall of Fame Ballot
2012 Induction class
Peter Mondavi Sr.
The ballot sent to the voters includes biographies. I'm not going to do so here for space reasons, and besides, you can't vote on this blog anyway.
The ballot is significantly different this year than in the past, when we divided it into two categories: a general category for the living and recently living, and a Pioneer category for those who had been deceased more than 10 years.
From this year, we have placed all post-Prohibition candidates into one large pool. The Nominating Committee has taken responsibility for directly inducting one pre-Prohibition candidate per year, at our discretion. We did this because we decided a popular vote wasn't the best way to choose the best candidates from a bygone era that most of us are not familiar with.
This year, we inducted Eugene Hilgard.
The change in categories is significant. In past years we had as many as 30 general category candidates, all living or recently so. The full ballot had as many as 40 candidates. This year we have just 17 candidates total, with contemporary candidates like Richard Arrowood and Angelo Sangiacomo going up against legends of the past like Joe Heitz and Myron Nightingale.
Smaller ballot, larger field. It's a tough ballot to crack.
How did the Vintners Hall of Fame come up with this ballot?
The Nominating Committee decided it. Here are the current members of that committee:
As you can see, there's a lot of wine knowledge on the committee; I learn a lot every year.
Now, who votes on this ballot? Professional wine writers, and living members of the Vintners Hall of Fame. Wine industry members do NOT get a vote, unless they are a professional wine writer or a living member of the Vintners Hall of Fame.
I am not going to offer opinion on this year's ballot. It's not my place, given my position. You are welcome to write your own.
Votes are still coming in. The voting deadline is Sept. 16, but we won't announce the winners right away. One of the highlights for me in doing this job is the possibility that I get to call someone to tell them they have been chosen. There's not a better phone call to make in the wine industry. Who will receive it this year?
Posted by W. Blake Gray at 5:51 AM