The 4th Annual WINE RIVAL (formerly Somm Madness)
Returns August 29, 2021 at Radius Chicago
A WINE RIVAL Champion will be Crowned & $10,000 donated to JBF Impact Programs
The 4th Annual WINE RIVAL (formerly Somm Madness) returns on Sunday, August 29, 2021, to award the 2021 title of WINE RIVAL Champion at Radius Chicago (640 W Cermack, Chicago, IL 60616). Tickets are $50 and the evening includes a premium Tailgate Tasting from 5pm-8pm and the WINE RIVAL Tasting Tournament from 6pm-9pm. The event is hosted by Adam Sweders, creator of WINE RIVAL and Sommelier Jon McDaniel (Food & Wine’s 2018 Sommelier of the Year). This year’s event will also feature none other than Jim Nantz, the announcer for the Super Bowl, March Madness, The Masters, and many more iconic sporting events.
WINE RIVAL brings together the nation’s sommelier community and wine aficionados for a blind tasting tournament. Sixty-four individuals will go head-to-head to advance to the championship round with the ultimate hope of taking home the grand prize: $20,000 cash. New in 2021, there is a $3,000 cash prize for the runner-up and a $1,000 cash prize to the final four contestants, bringing the grand total to $25,000 in cash prizes.
At 5pm, the event kicks off with an over-the-top Tailgate Tasting, the exciting pre-party to the main event that will run through the first half of the competition until 7:30pm. Ticket holders will have access to more than 400 wines in a walk-around tasting as well as a grand display of endless bites provided by Siena Tavern & celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani, who will be at the event mixing and mingling with guests. While feasting on fancy finger foods, a raw bar, and a selection of sweets, guests will sample from wineries that include some of the most iconic names in the world, including Silver Oak, Santa Margarita, Justin, Heitz, and more. At 6pm, the WINE RIVAL Tournament begins. All ticket holders can watch the tournament while the 64 registered competitors try their luck at the tasting tournament led by renowned judges.
While ticket holders look on, each competitor will partake in a blind taste test, tournament-style, and have a specified amount of time to provide written answers following CMS Standards. The winner will advance to the next round, similar to March Madness. For a chance to compete in the 4th Annual WINE RIVAL Tournament, visit https://winerival.com/compete/. Registration is open July 1 at Noon and final seedings will be announced on August 22, 2021. General admission tickets can be purchased here.
ROUND 1: 64
32 Matches • 1 Wine • 90 seconds
ROUND 2: 32
16 Matches • 1 Wine • 90 seconds
ROUND 3: SWEET 16
8 Matches • 2 Wines • 3 minutes
ROUND 4: ELITE 8
4 Matches • 2 Wines • 3 minutes
ROUND 5: FINAL 4*
2 Matches • 2 Wines • 3 minutes
ROUND 6: CHAMPIONSHIP*
1 Match • 2 Wines • 3 minutes
*Participants must provide answers verbally in accordance with CMS Standards. All contestants and spectators must purchase a Tailgate Tasting ticket.
André Mack will be the Featured Sommelier at this year’s event. He is the first African-American to be named Best Young Sommelier in America by Chaine des Rotisseurs and has worked at renowned restaurants like Per Se and French Laundry. He has been featured in multiple TV shows (Anthony Bourdain’s “The Taste” & NBC’s “Uncorked”), is the proprietor of Maison Noir Wines (Oregon), and runs his own hospitality group in Brooklyn, NY. As one of the top professionals in the wine industry, he has worked with the likes of Amazon, Cadillac, eBay, National Rental Car, and Microsoft.
Like last year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs. The JBF Impact Programs are committed to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership. In 2019, the event raised more than $7,000 for the foundation. This year, $10,000 will be donated to the foundation.
Tickets are $50 each. All contestants and spectators must purchase a Tailgate Tasting ticket to attend. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://winerival.com. Stay tuned for updates at @winerival_official on Facebook and Instagram.
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