Le Grand Prix du Cépage

May 17, 2010

We’re currently 779 members strong, with 28 doppel members, 5 treble members and one quattro member. While membership is increasing dramatically, more and more members are continuing their quest to Doppel levels and beyond.

To honor this sense of adventure and crazed obsessiveness, I am announcing a contest and award for the most grape varieties tasted by any one member: Le Grand Prix du Cépage!

Entries are due November 12, 2010 5PM EST and the winner will be announced on November 15th.

A big help in the quest for Doppel+ membership is the expanded application and database developed by Dr. Thomas Mercer-Hursh. You can find both on his site, A Muse in the Cellar.

What do you think?


  1. I was recently updating my application on the way to Doppel member, including a few obscure Italian varietals, and it occurred to me that the structure of the current rules is such that one is actually penalized for scholarship. E.g., as of that update, I had 159 prime names, what WCC calls “unique varietals”, but, I had 194 cultivar names. While a few of those cultivar names that map to the same prime name are common, like the Syrah/Shiraz thing, the vast majority are obscure names, often treated as unique grapes by wine writers, but which according to Vitis or other sources are considered genetically identical. So, if I were a lazy scholar and just wrote down things as unique when I thought they were unique, I would be a *lot* closer to my Doppel membership. Working hard are doing it “right”, I am actually making it harder for me to get there.

    Given the dubious nature of a lot of this classification (see http://www.a-muse-in-the-cellar.com/content/about-species-and-unique-varieties ), I wonder if we have the right standard. Yeah, there are a few cases where there is, for example, a French and a Spanish name for the same grape, which seems a bit like cheating, but do we really want to not count Primativo and Zinfandel or Blaufränkisch and Kékfrankos (among many others that most would not quess were the same without careful research?

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