Winemakers Cookoff – a premier wine and food tasting event
Winemakers compete to make the tastiest treat to pair with their wines
The Rotary Club of Paso Robles is holding one of their best yearly events, the Winemakers Cookoff on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at the Paso Robles Event Center. This event raises over $30,000 for the Paso Robles Rotary Harlow Ford Scholarship Foundation awarding college and vocational scholarships to Paso Robles High School students and has done so for the past 14 years. The event has distributed more than $400,000 in scholarships to date. Approximately 30 wineries participate and donate their time, money, food, and wine, not to mention the culinary talents of their winemakers.
The talented fiddler and singer, Julie Beaver and her group The Bad Dogs will entertain everyone with songs that range from classical to bluegrass and everything in between. Beaver is the daughter of a classical violinist, Judy Beaver, and started playing at age four. She switched to the fiddle at age 13 and also took up guitar and mandolin. Beaver studied both music and livestock judging at colleges in Texas. Locally she often performs with guitarist Dorian Michaels, and has played with and traveled internationally with folk-artist Darryl Purpose. The Cookoff evening will definitely be enhanced with this entertainment.
How does the Cookoff work?
Winemakers cook their specialty dishes, the menu for which remains a secret until the event begins, but can include selections such as shrimp tacos, lamb sausages, pork, beef Wellington, lamb sliders, chicken and vegetarian dishes. Each is served with the appropriate wine selection. Everyone attending will receive a souvenir wine glass and a wine caddy tray.
In this event judgment is of the food that the winemakers produce not the wine. There are two types of judging, the Judges’ Choice and the Peoples’ Choice. Each awards a first, second and third place. Judges are from the culinary and wine industry and they sample each food and wine pairing and make their choices. Judges awards are engraved bottles of wine.
The Peoples’ Choice judging is where more fun occurs. Attendees get to vote with three ballots. Each winery has a ballot box available. Participating wineries take to bribing the attendees offering them something “special,” such as a beer or a rare port or even truffles to sway their votes. This is not against the rules of the competition and is encouraged by the organizers as it results in much cajoling and laughter and certainly adds to the unique character of this event.
The Peoples’ Choice award is the Perpetual Trophy for the first place winner and this winery gets to keep and display it for a year. They also receive an engraved bottle of wine to keep as do the second and third place winners. Honorable mention in both the Judges’ and Peoples ccategories are awarded a small barbecue grill engraved with their names.
Attendees must be 21 years of age to attend and are encouraged to bring beach chairs and blankets, but no ice chests, and no dogs. The event occurs from 6 P.M. to 9 P.M. and there is free parking. Tickets are $75 each with a Designated Driver ticket for $40 and are available online at www.winemakerscookoff.com and at the door at the event.
Rotary club of Paso Robles is please to have IQMS Corporation of Paso Robles as their title sponsor for this event this year.
—Ruth Ann Angus