Last year I had a really great time as a first-time “guest judge” for the Indianapolis International Wine Competition. It’s one of the nation’s biggest outside California.

I was invited last year to experience what judges at these competitions go through and it was a real eye opener. One year later I’m returning, but I’ve yet to figure out how they taste so many wines in one day.

I tasted more than 50 in about an hour and a half, spitting all the while, and felt my palate was shot. You can read a newspaper column I wrote about the experience here.

The competition draws more than 3,000 wines from across the country. It has been held for years at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds but this year was moved to the Purdue University Campus.

Purdue employees provide much of the staffing for the big event.

So I’m going up Thursday morning and giving it another try. It’s a real challenge to blind taste 8-12 specific wines and judge them strictly for quality and not against each other. Oh, I do get to vote with the judges’ panel – but my vote doesn’t count!

I probably won’t spend the entire day but I’m excited. I’ll be writing something and posting photos Thursday night.

Depending on WiFi and time, I’ll update with Twitter posts throughout the day: @howardhewitt

Should be great fun!

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