At the end of last year I had the opportunity to be part of the jury for the 9th edition of VinoSub30 that took place in the Rosario neighborhood during the month of November.
VinoSub30 is a contest with a jury consisting of wine tasters under 30 years of age. I was lucky to interview one of its organizers, Daniel Lopez Roca, in order to know more about this project that has existed for more than 10 years.
How did you come up with the idea for VinoSub30?
I thought of the best way to bring wine to the younger audiences. I thought of making rave parties, but I thought that placing wine in the same space as other drinks wouldn’t let people notice its differences. So I thought of wine tastings, but it would make it look somewhat fake. In the end I reached the conclusion to organize a contest in which the attitude of thinking while you drink is important. I invented a tasting method, a specific form for giving scores, and organized the first tasting event for people under 30 years of age. That’s how VinoSub30 began in 2004.
Do you think that the level of juries has evolved after several events?
I think we all changed with each event, and that includes the wines. The quality has improved to the point that there are no bronze medals, and as of late the same goes for silver. The tasters have changed, too; almost all of them arrive with the knowledge of how to taste wine. They have tasted wine in the past even as simple consumers. Wine has found a space in society in the last ten years that we couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the first event.
What were the best and worst events? Or the easiest or hardest one to organize?
The hardest one was undoubtedly the first one, in 2004, when we were watched by every cellar. Everyone wanted to know what came out of VinoSub30. It took some years for them to understand that even if they make “younger” wines, VinoSub30 is a contest for young people that taste all kinds of wine. It was all based on their opinions, not marketing.
The easiest one was the 2008 event in Madrid. Even though we were foreigners introducing a radical idea that was innovative when it came to contests, the market’s response was very auspicious.
Daniel López Roca explains the event before the tasting
Is the goal the same since the beginning?
The goal of VinoSub30 is the same, since the young people that taste the wines aren’t the same. It’s still important to bring more young folk to drink wine responsibly and know what other participants think year after year. I believe it will be of equal importance in 10 years. The US started a similar contest, following our lead, but they made a mistake: they organized the it with one generation and only followed their progress, so future generations wouldn’t appear in their contest.
The goals we wanted to fulfill in 2004 in Argentina are the same we have this year in Uruguay (VinoSub30 Montevideo 2013) and in the 10th edition (VinoSub30 Mar del Plata 2013).
Who are the members of the organizing committee?
The core group keeps adding more members with each event. Initially we were Daniel Heffner, Juan, and Daniel López Roca. The ones in Uruguay are Claudio Angelotti, and Viviana Del Río. In Rosario 2012 we had the assistance of sommeliers from Rosario (Martín González, Víctor Diamante, Gabriela Pietracupa, Germán Muzzio, and Tomás Torres). Our next anniversary event in Mar del Plata will include Mariano Martin.
What changes would you like to bring to this new event?
We’re starting to work in Uruguay and preparing our first event in Brazil. In terms of managing the events, we have many ideas and it may be possible to implement some in the near future. We want to stop using paper and prefer electronic voting. It’s expensive, but not difficult, and with the help of a sponsor that we’re working with it’s probable that we’ll apply this idea in future events.
Another idea we had in 2004 was to replace the tasting document with a new one that had nothing to do with current ones. We’d like to award a wine for the sensations of pleasure it conveys, rather than its color, aroma, etc. It’s not easy; while using the standard method for rating wines we remained safe from criticisms. Changing something like this in a revolutionary way could bring a lot of anxiety.