The final hour of Middlesex v Hertfordshire at Lords,
April 19, 2013
Every so often, in exchanges with people on Facebook and elsewhere, I get comments like "I know about what wine drinkers think. I frequently host tastings for groups of them...". I thought of the people who attend those tastings on the final day of the International Wine Challenge at Lords, as I walked past the stands on my way to enjoy a post-competition beer.
As many of the hundred or so other wine professionals who'd spent their day sniffing, sipping and spitting began to make their way home, a hundred yards away, a group of men in white were doing what one is supposed to do at Lords: playing cricket.
The match in question was between Middlesex and Hertfordshire. It was a Friday afternoon, so most people of employable age were probably at work, but one might reasonably have imagined that rather more fans of both teams might have made their way to north London than are visible in the stands in the photograph above.
If you look carefully, you'll see the players on the pitch, taking the game very seriously: the equivalent of wine industry professionals. Watching, there are the small numbers of devoted fans: the equivalent of the enthusiasts who read wine books and columns and attend tastings...
Asking people who attend wine tastings what they think of wine is like asking people in the stands of a cricket match what they think of cricket: interesting, certainly, but hardly likely to be representative of the public at large...