California Wine Tasting Championships
An unforgettable al fresco dinner by chef extraordinaire Dan Trudeau highlighted the 30th and final California Wine Tasting Championships on July 28th, 2012. After hosting this event for 30 years, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards Vintner-in-Chief Allan Green has created a new event, the California Wine Pairing Championships. For all the details click here.
When Allan started the event in 1983 he called it the "California Wine Tasting Olympics," but this was poorly received by lawyers for the U.S. Olympic Committee. So for 1984 he changed the name, and the "Championships" took off from there. Buoyed by great media coverage, including an entire page in Newsweek Magazine, three minutes on the NBC TV national news, a three-page article in Gourmet Magazine, and coverage in all the popular wine publications, the event grew to a high of 240 contestants.
Over the last ten years attendance waned, in spite of continued great publicity in magazines such as Sunset and Oprah. So Allan revamped the format, converting the event into a party exclusively for our club members.
Congratulations to all the top finishers. Click here for the results.
The winners from all 30 years are listed here.
The Championships took on a life of its own, and developed a core group of loyal contestants. The end of the 30-year run was acknowledged by many, but with particular eloquence by long-time participant Kim Yamaguchi:
"Everyone loves getting together for the Wine Tasting Championships. It has turned out to be more than just an event. We have made lifetime friendships and look forward to getting together with the folks who attend. Every year we host a campfire and sit around and talk about wine and life. Lorraine and I get in the day before and people start to arrive and find their way to our camp. We spend Friday night yelling about each other's inferior pallets and embarrassing ourselves with boasts of championships to come.
The Wine Tasting Championships have spurred marriage and divorce, life and death, children have been born and gone off to college, we've seen pros humbled and amateurs glorified. The last weekend in July allows us to share our lives, and it's all because of your event at Greenwood Ridge."