I've always operated under the assumption that expertise is something you just can't claim to possess. There has to be some standard against which you can be measured. Something that can support, in some clear manner, why your advice on a specific topic might have more validity, and value, than the loudmouth at the end of the bar who keeps proclaiming their love of Bud. Or a new pub that proclaims itself a "gastropub" or a man who declares himself "handsome". These are things OTHERS assign to you, and not things you can self proclaim.
This is a growing concern simply due to the openness and size of an audience afforded by the internet. Anyone with a mouth, and an internet connection, can be a food blogger, or pretty well any kind of blogger. But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff?
There are two ways to acquire expertise. Study and practice. Usually expertise works best when there is a combination of those two.
So, for those of you who might occasionally stop here and read what I have to say about wine and beer, here is a "resumé" of sorts for me in that regard. So you at least know I am not just making things up as I go along.
And if you want a real professional's take on things wine and beer related, visit my brother's site www.frogspad.ca for better writing, more informed opinion, and a better travelled and practiced wine palate. He's got a pretty good beer palate too - but I'm not giving that up to him yet ;-)
Anyway, I think the following tends to validate my opinion on wine and beer a bit more than the average person. But that's not for me to decide.
Jeffrey Pinhey is a co-founder and active member of the Brewnosers Homebrewing and Beer Appreciation Club in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is one of the most experienced beer judges in Canada (BJCP National),and has overseen the sitting of two BJCP Exam Sessions as a proctor.
He’s been Best of Show Beer Judge for the Great Canadian Homebrew Championship four times, judge at three National Final Round American Homebrewing Competitions, three time judge at the Canadian Brewing Awards (professional brewing), including two Best of Show tables in 2011 and 2013. He’s judged at numerous home brewing competitions including many times at the CABA March in Montreal can All About Ales competitions. Jeff was an invited Judge at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Competition, the World Beer Cup, several times a judge of the Garrison Brewing Category competition, judge of the Unibroue Look-a-like Competition, judge at Big Spruce Brewing’s first style category competition, and judge of Niagara College Brewing Program’s annual Student Competition.
In the wine world, Jeff has been a judge at the 2008 and 2009 Canadian Amateur Winemaking Championships, and is a regular judge at the Atlantic Canada Amateur Wine Awards. Judge at the 2006 and 2007 New Brunswick World Wine and Food Festival wine competitions. Twice Head Judge at the Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards, twice a judge, and recently a co-organizer of the ACWA’s. He was recently one of 10 judges of the first annual Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards in Nova Scotia.
Jeff is currently on the committee to establish the first ever Atlantic Canada Beer Awards. He is a long time Board Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers - Atlantic Chapter, and past member of the Board of the Canadian Amateur Brewers Association.
Mr. Pinhey has worked at and attended many wine and beer trade shows, including most Nova Scotia Port of Wines Festivals, Moncton World Wine and Food Festival, Toronto’s Gourmet Food and Wine Festival, Madison Wisconsin’s Great Taste of the Midwest, Mondiale du Biere in Montreal, the Chicago Cask Ale Fest, several cask ale festivals in the UK, and Octoberfest in Munich.
Jeff has travelled to various wine regions, spending time learning and understanding the terroir and meeting with numerous producers from those regions, which include the Okangan Valley, New York’s Finger Lakes, Niagara Ontario, Niagara New York State, Prince Edward County, Quebec’s Eastern Townships and Atlantic Canada. The Alentejo and Algarve in Portugal, and Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. The Peljesac Peninsula in Croatia. Tuscany, Piedmonte, Umbria, Emiglie-Romagna, and Lombardia in Italy. Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Pays d’Oc and Languedoc, Bandol, Alsace, and the Midi-Pyrenees in France. The Peloponnese in Greece. The Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franshoek, Robertson, Paarl and Walker Bay areas in South Africa.
Mr. Pinhey consulted to a long time successful Halifax restaurant, “janes on the common” and currently assists a new successful restaurant in Halifax - “EDNA” with their beverage and wine list.
Master Class - Wines of Bordeaux, Bordeaux Wine Institute
Master Class - The Wines of Burgundy, International Sommelier Guild.
Master Class - Lambic Beers, Brewers Association of America
Master Class - Wines of South America, CAPS
Master Class - Wines of South Africa, Richard Kelley, MW
Master Class, Wines of Northern Italy, Michael Palij, MW