surinenglish

Olympic wine games

The Olympic Games were established as a cultural and sporting event. During the first four decades of their existence literature, architecture, painting and music were requisites at every event. Indeed, when Walter Winans won his second gold medal in 1912, it was not for target shooting as it had been 1908. He won it for sculpture.

Every practitioner of a minority sport wants to see their activity glorified by its inclusion in the Olympics. There is no shortage of candidates. Baseball and cricket are proposed for Tokyo 2020, and, bizarre as it may seem, so is chess, trampoline, hula-hoop, pogo stick and pole dancing.

The conclusion is that almost anything goes, so why not wine tasting? Last month's international competition organised by the French magazine La Revue du Vin de France in Bordeaux could serve as a blueprint for an Olympic trial.

Twenty-four countries competed in the third edition, among them China, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Sweden and Lebanon. In a blind tasting the teams had to identify grape variety, country of origin, region, vintage and producer.

The French, unexpectedly but happily (for the other competitors), performed disastrously and only earned 75 points. Sweden took first place with 115 points and Britain came second with 107. Even lightweights such as Luxembourg, Finland and Poland overcame the 'invincible' French. Last year's winner, China, only made ninth position, with Zimbabwe a poor 23.

The organisers concluded after the final scores were announced that countries that produced wine tended to do far worse than those that did not. 'It is as if they never taste wine from other countries....' was the sledgehammer comment, referring predictably to the French, although a little unfair on Spain which had won first place in 2015. Here anyway, there must be more than sufficient justification for adding wine tasting to the long list of Olympic events.