This past Saturday was the 14th annual Winemakers Cookoff here in Paso Robles which is put on by the local Rotary and held at River Oaks Hot Springs. It was our fourth year attending the event and it’s always a great time. This is one of those events that seems to be mostly local folks that come out to support Rotary and enjoy the friendly food competition between the roughly 26 wineries that come out.
What’s Makes the Winemakers Cookoff So Great???
For me, the best thing about the event is that backyard BBQ feel…it is unlike any other event in town. As you meander around you will often come across “bribes” from the wineries like margaritas, a special food, or a rare wine they’ll give you a taste of…all in hopes to get your voting tickets for the People’s Choice award for their Cookoff food. I’m not sure which award is more sought after, the People’s Choice or Judges Choice, but the shenanigans are hilarious!
Many of the wineries come with a theme and dress up for it, both themselves and their tent, so it can be quite entertaining. I’m always horrible at this event with the whole “remembering to take more photos” because I get too wrapped up in the craziness of the moment. It’s just so cool to be able to cruise around and see all your friends while gorging on food and getting a good wine buzz going…thanks to Annie for the “pregnant DD action”, always appreciated!!
The food really was amazing this year, kudos to all the participating wineries for the creative eats and summer fun. You really have to admire the folks doing the grilling too, because it’s already a warm day (100+ degrees) in Paso, so to throw grill duty on top of that…whoa!! At the end of the day it’s all for a great cause, so well done Paso!!
The only crazy moment was toward the end when an older drunk gentleman was stumbling through the crowd and started backing up toward a wine barrel that Annie was using to lean her baby belly weight on…luckily, due to my ninja like reflexes, the guy didn’t take down the barrel or Annie. It’s one of those situations that could have been quite ugly but just ended up being humorous. It makes think though, that young people always get blamed for getting drunk at events but to be honest, I have seen more “older folks” wasted than young ones at most Paso Robles events. We should do a research project.
I also want to add that there is live music at this event and the venue is absolutely beautiful. If you’ve never been out to River Oaks Hot Springs you’re missing out, it’s a beautiful spot complete with a manmade lake and rolling hills! Thanks again to all the participants and a big thanks to Paso Robles Rotary!! Cheers!
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