The Sport of Speed Wine Blogging

Over the weekend I caught a glimpse of the future; something that could truly revolutionize action TV sports. It could be bigger than fishing or hunting TV. It will be more exciting than TV poker tournaments. I’m a little hesitant in sharing for fear that the idea could actually be picked up by a national show.

Speed Wine Blogging!

The rules

  • 8 wine bloggers / 8 wines / 4 minutes with each wine
  • Bloggers listen to the marketing PR blurb then quickly swirl, smell, sip, spit and score the wines.
  • Prior to the cowbell ringing the blogger must document their tasting notes with either a tweet or a mini-post consisting of no more than 300 characters (140 character reviews are given an extra 2 points)
  • At the end of each round the posts and scores are evaluated and compared to the baseline “Parker Score” to determine those that continue to the next round.
  • One blogger is eliminated each round.
  • The last blogger remaining wins.

The scene is intense. The room reeks with anticipation…and hints of brett, funk and cherries. The assembled bloggers are cleansing their palates, stretching their tongues and limbering up their nostrils for the event.

Here we are today assembled around the greatest talent in wine writing and reviewing hoping to determine the world champion of Speed Wine Tasting (Red Edition). Our contestants hail from across the US in the hopes to win the coveted @bparkerchuk trophy of a giant nose sniffing a bung hole. “Much love and success to each of you. 100 points *” inscribed on the base.

Our contestants are the formidable Joe Roberts (1WineDude.com), Steve Heimoff (SteveHeimoff.com), Fredric Koeppel (BiggerThanYourHead.net), C. Jason Mancebo (20dollarwineblog.com), Kori Voorhees(WinePeeps.com), Pamela (Enobytes.com), Gary Vaynerchuk (TV.winelibrary.com), and newcomer Steve Paulo (StevePaulo.com).

Round One

Round one begins with a fast pace as the winemaker rushes from contestant to contestant pouring and explaining the wine. The camera cuts across each of the blogger/writers serious faces as they begin to examine the wine with vigorous swirls. Thoughts of berries, cherries, cassis, leather, plums, prunes and pencil led come to mind. The camera cuts to Gary V. who spits gloriously in his trademark Jets spittoon. Newcomer Steve Paulo looks perplexed by the mouth feel of the wine and newly crowned blog king Joe Roberts has already submitted his perfectly crafted 140 character tweet and score. The horn sounds signaling the end of round one. What’s this! Gary Vaynerchuk has grabbed the mic and begins talking about the wine’s availability on Cinderella.com and how he met the winemaker back when he sold him a baseball card in the Jersey mall. The side judges quickly regain control and deliberate the outcome of the first round. In a huge surprise, Gary is cited with a black Vinum and ejected from the competition. Gary offers a string of expletives and then reminds folks of the “Thank You Economy” coming out later this year.

Round Two

The crowd quickly regains composure as round two sounds with the clicking of the 85oz Riedel glass. Everyone gasps at the odd blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise, and Cinsault. This may prove to be a difficult round. In a bold move with only one sip and spit, both Fredric Koeppel and Steve Heimoff confidently submit their post.  Let’s watch that again in slow motion…will their haste prove to be a good strategy or will one of them be eliminated? The bell rings and Pamela from Enobytes is having trouble submitting her post. Twitter API is frozen! The judges huddle and extend the time by 30 seconds. Everyone has their entries in and the judges quickly review the submissions to determine the winner. The scoring is close with Heimoff pegging the wine almost to a tee. Missing the flavor profile and the score by just one point, Pamela is eliminated. Damn that fail whale.

The energy in the room continues to rise as the rounds progress.

Round Three

Kori Voorhees is eliminated after round three. Strangely enough the wine was a Woodinville winery from her backyard. Dejected Kori and Colby rush from the packed auditorium trying to escape the media interview. As Randy and Kaz from WineBizRadio.com try to stop them, Colby takes the camera and smashed it to the ground.

Round Four

Round four ends with the elimination of Steve Heimoff. He is disqualified for going over the 300 character limit as his post includes a rant against the Republican leadership in California and a dissertation on how no money will ever be made in wine blogging. He’s escorted out of the room by security.

Round Five

With only four contestants remaining the fifth round begins. The purple tooth stains and barrage of tannin and acid are beginning to take their toll on the contestant’s palates. A strange purple stain had developed on Mancebo’s chin…and oddly enough on his bald head…Joe Roberts has a commanding lead with each review coming in at exactly 140 characters. The contestants battle through the round when out of the corner of his eye, Joe catches a glimpse of Geddy Lee from Rush in the stands. Immediately he faints from excitement and is disqualified. After calming the crowd and reviving Joe, the play continues.

Round Six

Three contestants remain; Mancebo, Koeppel, and newcomer Steve Paulo. Mancebo’s eyes seem a little bloodshot and he’s struggling to find the keys on his iPad. A bead of sweat drips from his chin into the glass. The wine is the Molly Dooker Velvet Glove. As he stares into his glass his face turns flush and he quickly rises. “No wine should be 16.8%ABV this is a travesty against wi….” In mid-sentence he falls forward onto the table sending purple spit juice everywhere. For several minutes the scene is chaos. The head referee calls for a 30 minute break so the contestants and compose themselves and clean the spit out of their hair. In a post interview, Mancebo says, “I guess the lesson here is to spit. I let the excitement of the day get to me. I’m a professional, I should know better than that. I’ll be back next year.”

Final Round

The lights dim and the music comes up as the final round begins with perennial award winner Fredric Koeppel and the new kid Steve Paulo surviving to the finish. Intense stares of determination are fired across the table. The wine poured is a 1949 Chateau Ausone. The stage is set and the audience is eerily quiet for the first time all evening. The sound of swishing and spitting can be heard across the room. Both writers deliberate, sketch a few notes and deliberate some more. A commotion arises from the back of the room. Bursting into the room is Joe Powers from AnotherWineBlog.com. “This is a scam, this is a set up! Who are the judges? How the hell did these people get picked to be in the finals! I demand to know!” He overturns the table crushing Koeppel. Paulo attempts to restrain him, but Joe (more crafty than he looks) eludes his grip and rushes off. Screaming toward the exit, “I bet Tom Wark is behind this madness,” Lenn Thompson from NewYorkCorkReport.com dives from the mezzanine level and tackles Joe. Lenn quickly restrains him and stuffs his head in the only remaining spit bucket.

What a night. What a sport. Dazed, the officials and referees head to the replay booth to review the tape. After several minutes of deliberation, they return to declare Steve Paulo the winner by default as he is the last man standing. This new sport is sure to take hold across the country as wine bloggers turn in to rock stars and thousands clamor to the scene.

Tags:   ,

drinknectar

Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

57 comments on “The Sport of Speed Wine Blogging

  1. Vivian Mycroft

    What a surprise – GaryV was ejected first round. Vegas had odds for GaryV to be in at least until Round 7. Odds on Paulo made him a long shot! Somebody surely cleaned up picking Paulo to win it all. Were the winnings used to buy the $180/bottle Molly Dooker? That is over $10 for each percentage of ABV. Perhaps I have just hit upon a new measure. Mutineer Mag should adopt it.
    Great weekend!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Vivian – yep the oddsmakers were stunned on this one. Steve put all his google ad money on himself and walked away with a cool $68.12 in prize money. He was able to buy a glass of Molly Dooker from the vegas restaurant with that!

      Cheers!

      Reply
  2. 1WineDude

    Laughing my ass off!
    Nice one…

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Joe – sorry you didn’t win this one. I figured you already had enough glory for one year! haha!

      Reply
  3. Steve Paulo

    Well played, sir… well played! I would happily defend my crown, even if I did win by default :)

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Can’t believe you let Joe Powers get away from you that easily. He was like a greased pig…actually ran under your legs…it was funny. Next year you can defend the crown and win the right way!

      Reply
  4. Joe

    Paulo the winner?? This is bullsh*t!!! I had $1000 riding on Mancebo at even money odds. Do you know how many $20 bottles of wine $2000 would’ve bought??!

    I call shenanigans!!

    Damn funny post, Josh. I’m trying to solidify myself as wine blogging’s comedian, but you are forcing me to up my game. Cheers to that!

    Joe (not to be confused with Powers or Roberts) Herrig

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Joe – that last minute entry by Powers effed up your chances. If Mancebo could hold his booze you may have had a shot!

      Reply
  5. Ed Thralls

    Well played, sir. At the very least this should be picked up for ESPN3.com

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Ed – I think this could be moved to ABC prime time event with the activities that could occur. I mean really, did you hear about the Hardy Party and the Charles Smith party? Wine, flaming pasties, cops…makes for some good TV

      Reply
  6. Cecilia Dominic

    Ha! I hate reality t.v., but I’d watch this. Great post!

    Cecilia

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Wouldn’t it be a hoot! Maybe the food network could pick it up!

      Reply
  7. Jennifer (wineofcourse)

    Love it Josh! Your commentary is brilliant! I see a bright future for speed wine blogging. Anyone thinking what I’m thinking?…Summer AND Winter Olympics! Finally Wine is a Sport! Cheers!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Could really branch out to include white tasting, ports, regions and more!

      Reply
  8. Ryan O'Connell

    lmao, awesome idea. Good work, sir! Let’s do it IRL. I’ve got a venue if you can get to France. :)

    World’s Fastest Sommelier competition 2011

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Ooooh – in real life! Wow, that could be fun!

      Reply
  9. Preston Porter

    Haha love it!
    “Prior to the cowbell ringing…” I think Christopher Walken should be the cowbell ringer/referee for every Speed Wine event

    Reply
  10. Joshua S Sweeney

    Why in the hell didn’t I make it out to WBC10? You better be ready, Steve. I’m training with Apollo Creed AND Mr. T up in the Soviet mountains (don’t question the timeline). Come, WBC 11, I’m storming through this event, and my sights are on you.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Preston – you’re on to something “more cowbell”

      Josh – Steve can defend his title…good luck on the prelims leading up to the finals! Get that palate trained!

      Reply
  11. Jason Mancebo

    Wow, Josh. You nailed me on that one…and I exit on the perfect note for the not so perfect wine.

    Now that I’m infamous, I WILL be back!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Haha! Next year, you’ll have to learn to spit! Maybe then you can take the crown! Good to meet you at WBC

      Reply
  12. Jon

    I think I would make a great contender for 2011 ;)

    Reply
  13. Brian

    I hear spin-offs, Iron Taster, American Wino, So you think you can Taste, Tasting with the Stars…

    Yikes!

    norcalwingman

    Reply
  14. Beau Carufel

    I laughed my a$$ off! Absolutely superb, didn’t know Jason was such a lightweight ;-)

    Reply
  15. Brian

    Oh, and I’m fairly sure this would only be aired on ESPN 8 “The Ocho”

    Reply
  16. Sunshine Mugrabi

    Oh man, this brings back memories of that cowbell… Very funny stuff.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Brian – that’s some funny stuff. Tasting with the Stars – I like that one!

      Beau – I know, who knew. I figured a guy of his stature could handle his stuff

      Jon – Next year! You could definitely be in the running! You’ll have to work on your chops now!

      Reply
  17. Laurel (CorkPopper)

    Ha! Fantastic! We should totally make it happen at next year’s WBC … except now I’m picturing a marathon session wherein the two final contenders end up in a tie over and over again like that Wimbledon match last week!!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Oh man, that Wimbledon match was amazing! If that happened in the wine world, someone would be bound to pass out from alcohol poisoning or tooth rot

      Reply
  18. Pamela @ Enobytes

    #twitterfail #twitterfail #twitterfail #twitterfail #twitterfail #twitterfail
    I demand a rematch!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      You were robbed, Pamela! Couldn’t believe it when I saw it! That added stress must have caused you to miss out on something in the wine.

      Reply
  19. Ben Simons

    Outstanding post Josh. I laughed out loud on the airplane I was boarding in Vegas. I ended up having to explain what I was laughing about to a nun sitting next to me, who just stared blankly back at me and said, “hmm”.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      HA! Ben, you explained a speed wine tasting to a nun. That is frickin’ hilarious!

      Reply
  20. David Honig

    Perfect. Joe Power was a great touch. The only question I have is, what the hell is Wine Biz RADIO doing with a camera?!?

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      I know, right! Why do they film people if it’s just going to be on the radio? Had fun writing the post…makes me nervous that you wrote it because I know I need an editor!

      Reply
  21. Kori

    Hilarious, Josh! 3rd round, huh? I’ll be back next year to take it all.

    Reply
  22. Colby

    David – Josh is too polite to say where I put the microphone!

    Reply
  23. Tamara Belgard

    Josh, we all knew you were funny, but you’ve really outdone yourself, practically wet myself!! And do I detect just a smattering of parody? Well played! 140 character wine reviews – you may be onto something (else).

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Tamara, it was one of the more enjoyable posts to write! 140 character reviews…Joe Roberts beat me to that idea…he already does them :(

      Colby and Kori – I’m so glad you have a good sense of humor!

      Reply
  24. Kristen

    Hilarious post Josh! And I think Jon Troutman would be an excellent choice of a contender next year. :)

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Oh, yeah – he better work on his chops, there is some serious competition out there. I think training has begun already.

      Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Fredric – you had to be rushed to the hospital, but things look good for a chance to come back. I had you as a lock to win…Joe Powers ruined it for you. Better luck next year!

      Josh

      Reply
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  26. Cindy @Vinonotes

    This just may be (yep, it is!) my favorite wine blog post, recap, idea, etc ever! So funny! So glad I was there – pouring for all you blogging maniacs! ha!
    Next year – perhaps there could be a sensory tasting element included, where one of the rounds happens in the dark?
    Oh, and I absolutely love Brian’s comments and names for spin-off shows – “So you think you can Taste”. Pure Awesomeness!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Cindy,

      Are you sure you want a bunch of drunk wine bloggers in a dark room together? Hmmmmm

      Reply
  27. Houstonwino

    How unrealistic! Being from Toledo, I would easily have taken out a few more people before being subdued. And that spit bucket better have had some good stuff in it too.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Joe,

      You did manage to get away from Steve Paulo…and he’s a big guy! I think Lenn took you by surprise with his dive bomb from the balcony.

      Josh

      Reply
  28. Mia

    ROFLMAO ! Hilarious post!

    Reply
  29. Houstonwino

    True, those New York guys are pretty sneaky. Just wait until next year…

    Reply
  30. WineWonkette

    Funny as sh!t post! However, Lenn could NEVER subdue @HoustonWino. Too bad I forgot to bring his “F*ck You, I’m From Detroit” Kid Rock T-shirt. Heimoff’s “black belt” might as well be pink.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      OMG, that is funny! If I knew Joe was from Toledo the outcome may have been completely different!

      Reply
  31. Houstonwino

    Good thing that you didn’t. If it were like the typical movie script, coming from the same place as P.J. O’Roark and Gloria Steinham would have ended up with me as a hit man or a transvestite with a chili dog fetish. Or worse…married to Tom Cruise.

    Reply
  32. William Pollard

    I did the speed wine blogging at WBC 10 on Friday – ended up at the Charles Smith party with flaming burlesque girls. Not sure how I got there or back to my room. I’m swearing off the speed blogging.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      William, I missed that Charles Smith party but I hear it was an amazing time. Anytime you get flaming pasties and booze together, you’ve got a combustable mix

      Reply
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