Hall of Fame
After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, WineRival came back with a vengeance and saw a record turnout of 420 guests at Venue West in Chicago. With world famous broadcast announcer Jim Nantz delivering the opening we cranked AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” during the opening to let the world know that it would take more than a pandemic to stop “The World’s Most Exciting Wine Event.” Former wine director of City Winery, Rebecca Miles-Steiner took home the trophy and $10,000.
The introduction of the Tailgate Tasting! Over 80 sponsors featuring over 400 wines to taste, this year was completely sold out to industry and consumers even considering 6 inches of snow and the Game of Thrones Finale! The food was right out of the city’s finest steakhouse, Prime & Provisions, and featured prime filets, king crab, oysters, and plenty more favorites seen at a classic Chicago steakhouse. With a record grand prize of 10k on the line and competitors from seven different national markets flying in to compete, Domenico Alesi, from the healthcare industry, took home the championship. Proving that anyone from anywhere can win this prestigious title.
Moving to a bigger space after a successful first year, Somm Madness 2018 saw hundreds of people come together to once again compete for a trip to Napa as well as $1,000 cash! In its atrium setting, Somm Madness was the first wine event to our knowledge that brought an opening that could rival a sporting event. Complete with concert-esque lighting and sound it was truly something to be witnessed for the wine world. Matt Schnieder, a specialist for Breakthru Beverage, claimed victory for year two!
To say we were nervous for our inaugural event would be an understatement, but the Chicago wine community was thirsty for this kind of event so much that we had to turn people away. Hosted for the first time in an event space that holds 80 people, we had to cut it off at 125! Chicago’s best palates came together to compete for a trip to Napa with first-class accommodations. Diana Hawkins, the sommelier of the famed Alinea in Chicago, took home the first-ever Somm Madness trophy!