Greenwood Ridge Winery, Anderson Valley, CA
Sat July 26th & Sun July 27th
Sign Up Here!
$45 for Single Competitor, $80 for team of two
Thursday, March 6th, 2008
Though the weekend of July 26th and 27th may seem a long ways off, it will arrive before we know it. And when the sun rises on those fateful days, you'll count yourself lucky if you decided to join me at Greenwood Ridge winery, high in the hills of Anderson Valley for the annual wine tasting competition.
Novices, amateurs and professionals compete in three different waves, so no matter what your expertise, you're assured of a good time while "competing" with your peers. Each class offers two rounds of competition, those making it through the first round moving on to a second, more challenging round. The winners of each group then compete in the final round, held in front of the seated crowd - the "American Idol" of the wine industry.
Bring a big hat, a blanket, a picnic and lots of sunscreen then wander from the music deck to the food tent to the ample lawns or vineyard of this scenic winery.
There are those who feel it wise to keep their palate unfettered by alcohol between rounds of competition. Then there are those who just as strongly advocate for the opposite strategy - consuming ample quantities between rounds. I've seen victors emerge from both approaches. My approach is to take the abstention lane, as I was once offered a most welcome, thirst-qunching beer between rounds only to blow it in the second round. Given that I'm almost as superstitious as your average baseball player, I now swear off the intra-round imbibing.
But last year's winner, the affable Donovan Weir of Southern Wine & Spirits (see photo, and YES, Donny is the one on the bottom) took the opposite tack. Maybe Donny won because he was well relaxed by his mid-round tipples. But I must say he gave an impressive performance that day, identifying not only the varietal, region and vintage, but THE PRODUCER on three of the five wines in the championship round. Good night, turn out the lights, this round is over!
I'd also be remiss were I not to mention consultant Mark Bowery, responsible for the wine list at the Albion River Inn, winner of several "Wine Spectator's Best" awards. I was humbled while competing at his table, and made a note to sit within eye shot of his tasting notes this year ;-)
This is a nice, relaxing family event, with outdoor music, olive oil tastings, chocolate tastings, vineyard tours, and lots of open grassland. One year, a couple who first met at this event years ago, and have attended every year since, decided to get married between rounds of the competition. Even if your summer calendar is already full - find a way to go!
Email Me at dave@SidewaysWineClub.com if you'd like me to send you an application. Everyone is welcome, and you'll find it difficult to locate a better use for $45 or $80, even in these economic times!
See you there?!
Dave Chambers, Wine Merchant
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