By Cassandra Bianco (@cnbianco)
The aromas of blackberry, leather and tobacco tickled the nose hairs of the 25 judges. These sweet smells lingered as did the suspense, which was so thick you could cut it with a corkscrew. Soon the silence broke, and there were sounds of sniffing, swirling, sipping and spittoons shots. This was not just any blind wine tasting…but Tempranillos al Mundo.
Last week, for the first time ever, the annual Tempranillos al Mundo international wine competition made its debut in the United States, and we were picked to host it. We were equally thrilled when Kevin Zraly accepted as master of ceremonies.
Judged by an expert panel of 25 acclaimed wine sommeliers, winemakers and splendid wine media Tara Thomas and Gregory dal Piaz, more than 400 Tempranillo wines were tasted from around the world. Entries came from the U.S., Spain, Mexico, Greece, Argentina, Australia, France, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Turkey, Thailand and Venezuela. Final results: 54 wines won gold medals and 70 won silver.
Behind the scenes director’s note: this was four days of tabulating scores, translating romance languages, client hosting, entertaining media, vendor patrolling, freelancer supervising, ITing, orchestrating meal and activities, hosting a press conference, and categorizing +900 bottles of wine.
Though testing, it was an empowering experience staging this event, at the (spaceship that is) the Marriott Marquis. It was also pretty special. Hanging out with a dozen winemakers can be a sweet gig.
Our agency has hosted ground-up 400 person wine events, but those involved +20 agency staff.
This time, we were a nimble team of…three. Teamwork for the event was critical. We were focused problem solvers, but during the juggling act… we enjoyed camaraderie. Working together was reenergizing. This was sweet success.