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World Blind Wine Tasting Challenge 2020: And the winner is…

October 11, 2020

On this day last year, I woke in the Loire Valley, France. We were staying in an Air B n B that snuggled up to a limestone cave. In fact the kitchen was IN the cave. Our accommodations, a two story structure, adjoined the cave.

And there was a hot tub where I soaked and drank my tea on that misty morning. The night before, we enjoyed oysters and a pet nat.

From there, we visited Vouvray’s Vincent Careme, a master of Chenin blanc wether still, sparkling, or sweet, and after lunch at Chateau du Pray, a Michelin starred restaurant also built into a limestone cave, we arrived at Chateau Chambord, possibly the most impressive castle in France, if not of Europe.

Just outside of Chateau Chambord were our next accommodations. This is the view from my bed:


And why was I in the Loire staying at a Chateau? I was competing for Team USA in the World Blind Wine Tasting Championship along with my writing partner and teammate Sue Hill and two team mates from Texas. Our expenses were covered by organizer and sponsor Wine Acuity; they also provided the team jackets with the logo below:

We were quite surprised to find ourselves there — we had competed on a lark, basically which you can read about here, and surprised outsells when we came in second and won the trip to France to compete in the World Blind Wine Challenge. While our teams of two did great independently, together we did not fare so well as you can read about here. 

But felt we’d already won just getting to go.  Sue and I had an incredible experience during our two weeks in France, first in Champagne (photo essay here)  then in the Loire, and finally two nights in Paris.

We taste a lot of wine all year, averaging 30 bottles a month, and certainly exceeding 300 bottles year that we write about. In a normal, non-COVID year, we drive south to LA to taste wines and tined winemaker lunches and dinners several times a month, so we likely taste thousands of wines every year. I’ve published about two novels worth of words about food and wine so far in 2020 on Wine Predator.

Which meant we actually felt we had a good chance of competing in France again.

And then COVID hit and changed everything which you can read about here.

While on the 2020 team, we were named alternates with little chance of being selected to go.

And then again with COVID travel restrictions, Team USA did not go.

Instead, I learned yesterday organizers in France found Americans who were already there who could compete For Team USA.

So how did they do? And who won?

In a preliminary round, France came in first with a strong lead with China trailing behind in second. The other teams made for a crowded field, but Team USA made it to the finals where the Top 10 teams tasted four more wines, two red and two white.

France and China kept their leads to come in first and second, according to the World Blind Wine Tasting Championship organizers La Revue du Vin de France,   in this year’s competition which took place yesterday, 10/10/2020 at Château Smith Haut-Lafitte in Bordeaux, France.

Read more in this post about the 2020 contest.

Read more abut the 2020 results on



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