The Winemaker Cookoff is the most competitive event of the year in Paso Robles…winemakers competing for the event-goers’ votes for best food and wine pairing! This event is put on by the Paso Robles Rotary Club and it benefits local High School Seniors, with college scholarships. They’ve raised over $350,000 since the inception of the event. What an incredible community event!
So here’s how it works; the wineries show up and bring their A-game; a game of BBQing something delectable to serve up along with their wines and then do whatever they can to bribe you for a ticket in the bucket that counts as a vote. What do they win, you ask? Well, they win bragging rights of holding the honor for winning “People’s Choice” or “Judge’s Vote” for their tasty treats.
Here’s the vibe….
Here’s our approach: show up, grab a glass and make the rounds, tasting a sip of wine and a bite of food…then hold out! That’s right, hold out to see what kind of secret stash they’ll pull out to gain as many votes as they can. We tried things like “Beef Sliders with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions” from Pear Valley Vineyards. We also enjoyed a “Mini Beef Wellington with Mushroom Duxelle, topped with a Grilled Shrimp and Secret Spices” from Mitchella Winery. Then, on to the “Hot Dog Trifecta, a Hula Dog, Mexi Dog, and Slaw Dog” from Silver Horse Winery.
How does one choose, you say? Well, it’s tough, but somebody has to do it, right? We took the challenge and voted for our top tastes. Oh yeah, and we got a cold draft beer from Arroyo Robles, and some assorted special vintage library wines from some of the other wineries in attendance. Tough job, but we fought our way through the masses to make sure we gave credit (tickets/votes) where credit was due. We’re not immune to a bribe, everybody has their price and we definitely aren’t ones to hold out for too long. We won’t disclose who we voted for, but we will say that we were happy with the results!
Here we are, talking with Bri Shore of Arroyo Robles, last year’s winner of the People’s Choice award, right before the results were in!!!!
So, Arroyo Robles won 2nd place for People’s Choice this year, and Mitchella’s Surf and Turf Beef Wellington and Shrimp won first place. Great job, all you grillin’ winemakers! Here’s a huge CHEERS for another great year and a successful event!
- Wine, BBQ Pits, & Bribes! (hootnannieblog.com)
- Mitchella (hootnannieblog.com)
- Pear Valley (hootnannieblog.com)
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