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The Wine Judging Circuit

The Wine Judging Circuit

Rebecca Chapa | Chef's Blade

National Women’s Wine Competition (March)

In Santa Rosa, the National Women’s Wine Competition offered a unique opportunity to interact with some of the most amazing women in the industry. We hit some local dining spots such as Syrah Bistro and of course Willi’s Wine Bar.

San Diego International Wine Competition

Part of my love of competitions is visiting fun places! The luxury of staying at the Westgate Hotel in San Diego can’t be beat. Add to that a visit to Old Town San Diego (missed that this time). I did make it to the amazing San Diego Zoo where I had the chance to see BABY meerkats. That’s right BABY MEERKATS!! (I love meerkats almost as much as wine.) I also ate at El Indio, a fun Mexican restaurant and tortilla factory near the airport just. It was founded in 1940 and they have really good chips and taquitos-they claim they first coined the word taquito.) We also enjoyed two meals at the Yard House, one of the better chain restaurants with an unending selection of beers on tap. They carded me too, twice! Made me feel great. The gala dinner was a blast as Robert Whitley was kind enough to allow me to sing two of my songs acapella for the group to raise cash donations for Camp Oliver. Hmm, maybe they were paying me to STOP singing? One of the highlights of this judging was an amazing little day glow pink wine that I thought tasted like Tootsie Rolls. While fruit wines are a unique and often scoffed at judging category there was also an amazing little strawberry wine (Saint James Winery $8.99), but this “Tootsie Roll” wine was astounding. Let’s just say that I would have been able to suck that stuff down as a Freshman in college. It was from Trout Springs Winery and called Afternoon Delight ($19.99). We sent it to sweepstakes so that everyone could taste it!

Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition (formerly called Los Angeles County Fair Wines of the World Competition) Wine Judging May 27-29, 2009/Spirits June 1-2, 2009

Held in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Fair Association I have to admit this is my favorite competition. The number and caliber of judges is amazing. It’s also a realy great time. Admittedly, I may hold some bias as I am the Chair of the spirits side of the competition. The ability to judge with such an esteemed group cannot be beat. I learned my judging skills due to the amazing help and guidance from the best on the circuit, Don Galleano, Gary Eberle, Mitch Cosentino, Darrell Corti, Dan Berger and many others. Also, judges are often invited back to attend the Los Angeles County Fair in September where they teach consumers directly about the products they judged, which is a great inexperience.

San Francisco International (June)

The San Francisco International judging is another fun event held annually by Anthony Dias Blue. There is a friendly rivalry between the SF competition and the LA, but Andy still keeps inviting me back, and I am honored. He and his crew of judges are some of the most fun in the bussines. We have been known to judge hard and party hard! There has been occasional karaoke…enough said.