New Jersey Wine

The American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) conducted a wine tasting last month and, in case you missed the results, they may make you want to rethink your views of wines from the Garden State.

Back in 1976, a British wine merchant organized a blind wine tasting with 9 French judges called, Judgment of Paris. The tasting included wines from Bordeaux and wines from Napa. The wines from Napa were declared the winners and helped put Napa wines on the map.

Fast forward to June 8, 2012. A group spearheaded by George Taber (who had been in Paris for the original tasting and wrote a book on it) as well as a number of economists from the AAWE and others, organized a tasting called The Judgment of Princeton.  The 9 judges this time were from France, Belgium and the US. The wines tasted were from France and, you guessed it, New Jersey.

The results:

In the white wine category, the French wine won. BUT, the win was hardly overwhelming and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place winners were from Bruce Springsteen’s home state. In the red wine category, the French wine was a clear winner but the NJ reds came in 3rd, 4th and 5th. In my view, it was a very close finish.

Here’s what Orley C. Ashenfelter, president of the AAWE and professor of economics at Princeton had to say in NJ Today, “The judging was so close that, statistically, there were virtually no significant differences in the rankings.”

Wait a minute; there were no differences in the judges’ scores for the French vs. NJ wines?

Are they telling me that just as I’m getting used to wines from upstate New York and the North Fork of Long Island, I better be thinking about New Jersey wines as well?

Another question — did the French judges commit suicide?

(Special thanks to Karl Storchmann, Vice President of the AAWE for his assistance.)

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