Thursday, April 30, 2015

Amateur Number Crunching

Years ago, before I became whatever it is you think I am today, I was a research assistant at an energy consulting firm outside Washington, DC. I crunched numbers and wrote technical proposals; VLOOKUPs, COUNTIFs, pivot tables and TOCs were my teammates, in-depth analysis was the name of the game.

Channeling these enviable powers, I decided to run a quick analysis of the results of the 2015 Thessaloniki Wine Competition and the 8th Cyprus Wine Competition, paying close attention to Cypriot participation in both. Given the proximity and (presumable) lower costs, I believe these are the two wine competitions of greatest interest to Cypriot wineries. Of course, there are severe limitations to my study since I don't know exactly which Cypriot wineries submitted their wines to each of the events.

Here's a table with The Rock's winners in Greece. The last column shows whether or not they were also awarded a medal at the 8th Cyprus Wine Competition.

As we can see, Commandaria shone bright in both competitions. In Cyprus alone, including the three vintages listed above, Commandaria received three Grand Golds (1984 KEO St. John, 2000 ETKO Centurion and 2004 LOEL Alasia) and seven Golds. That's quite an amassment of precious metal. Two additional points pop out from this table. First, Zambartas Rose, a Gold medal winner in Greece and a crowd favourite, did not receive an award in Cyprus. Second, Yiaskouris' wines were among Cyprus' biggest winners in Thessaloniki but failed to garner any medals on the island, my guess being they opted not to participate locally. 

This begs an obvious question: What parameters are Cypriot wineries using when it comes to submitting their products to both local and international competitions? Big winners in Cyprus like Ezousa (Special Recognition & Gold Medals for the 2014 Xynisteri and 2009 Metharme Maratheftiko) did not show in Thessaloniki. I must admit that in the past I asked this same question to Michalis Constantinides, Ezousa's head honcho, and he told me the cost of sending wines to competitions abroad are rather prohibitive. There are entry and transportation fees and, if you receive recognition, you have to purchase stickers and invest time putting one on each of your awarded bottles. Seemingly, excellent wineries like Vlassides, Makkas, Kyperounda, Vouni Panayia and Argyrides, to name a few, did not participate in Thessaloniki as evinced by their lack of hardware there. Likewise, I assume Aes Ambelis, who usually sends its wines to Decanter's World Wine Awards and consistently receives medals, and Hadjiantonas did not join either of the contests. 

In the end, what gives?

For full results of the 8th Cyprus Wine Competition, click #CongratsToAllTheWinners!

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