Dan Marek

Meet international wine judge Dan Marek

Dan Marek, owner of Georgetown Winery, not only makes wines, but he judges them, too. As a certified international wine judge, he can identify numerous varieties of wines from around the world by their smell and flavor.

What does an international wine judge do?

A judge’s duty is to judge—blind—approximately 200 wines a day for two days. Yes, you do a lot of swirling and spitting!

How is judging so much wine possible?

Judges are put on a very strict diet during the competition to ensure their palate is not flawed during the judging process, which normally begins at nine in the morning and lasts until six in the evening. Judges are seated four to a table, with some wine competitions having as many as 100 judges. At your table of four, you are each to describe the wine, smell the wine, and taste the wine. Once each judge has done this, they are to give it a placing.

Why did you want to be an international wine judge?

I wanted the experience of trying thousands of different wines, but this was also an opportunity for me [to learn] to make wines not normally found in Texas.

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