Mar 15 2012
Scarcely hours after female chess players were told to button-up or be banned from chess competitions, women wine judges were ordered to dress down during wine competition panel tastings or face being expelled from premier South African wine shows.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║We had to take action against the provocative dress code certain female judges have been following lately,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ a spokesperson for the South African Domestic Wine Show Union said.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║When tasting wine, one needs all your senses focused on the glass before you, particularly smell and taste. A women sitting next to you at an important judging session wearing a low-cut dress or showing bare shoulders shifts the attention away from oneΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s senses of smell and taste to that of sight. And this can be most off-putting.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║As any male judge and certain female judges will tell you, it is very hard analysing an un-wooded Chardonnay whilst looking at provocatively exposed mammary glands. It makes the wine taste funny, too.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
In future, wine competitions wishing to gain the SA Domestic Wine Show UnionΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s seal of approval will have to see that female judges cover up accordingly so as to avoid causing any distraction among fellow judges.
According to one winemaker heading up a judging panel at the Veritas Wine Awards, the ban on off-putting female flesh is to be welcomed.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Last year our panel got totally lost when a fellow judge removed her cardigan to show a cleavage you could roll a barrique through,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ he said. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║It took the other judges an hour to get through 10 wines as they had to relook each glass about seven times. Whenever our fellow lady judge leaned forward to spit, the other guys did not know whether they were tasting on the Pinotage or Sauvignon Blanc panel. Heavy breathing also ensued, and we almost had a choking incident. ItΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s a bloody health-risk.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
But Ms Judy Locutt, well-known wine judge from Waterkloof in Pretoria, says the latest ruling is just another way for male-dominated competition panels to keep women away from judging panels.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║I donΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t go making a scene about male judges with chest hair sprouting from their Pringle golf shirts or the men in ball-clenching tight kaki shorts with whom we girls have to contend with during wine judging,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ she said. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║ItΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s all another boring attempt to keep real women away from judging panels.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Tim Uys, fishing writer and wine judge, said Ms Locutt had to remember that by exposing bare flesh during wine judging the ladies concerned were posing a health risk to fellow panel members.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Some of the South AfricaΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s wine judges are in their twilight years and many have undisclosed medical conditions,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Uys. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║The excitement caused by the sight of a bit of cleavage or flash of thigh could really put one of the old-timers over the top, causing a stroke or heart-attack. Whilst we respect women for their ability to taste wine, we cordially ask them to respect the weaknesses and frailty of some of their fellow judges.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ