Download press release here: Team USA Competes in France
The World Wine Tasting Championship was held on October 12, 2018 in Chateau Saint-Pierre de Serjac, Languedoc, France, and Team USA was one of 23 teams from around the world who were competing. The newly formed Team USA knew they had an uphill battle on their hands, but were ready to take the challenge.
In August 2018, the US Open Blind Wine Tasting competition was held in Marina Del Rey, CA, where two (two person) teams emerged victorious and formed the four person Team USA who would represent the country at the World Wine Tasting competition in France. As practice began, the 2nd place team had to drop out due to health reasons, and the team who came in third at the US Open was brought in to take their place. With the change, Team USA had very little time to practice, but felt ready when they made their way to France.
The World Wine competition in France features 12 wines from across the world. Only one wine is allowed per country, with the exception of France. This gives the European competitors a leg up on the US team, as many of the wines poured during the competition are not available in the US.
However, none of these factors were going to stop Team USA. They finished in 14th place out of 23 teams and were proud of their accomplishment. “Blind wine tasting is very difficult and properly identifying as many varietals as they did is something to be proud of,” said John Vilja, Team USA coach and CEO of Wine Acuity, LLC, the organization that runs the US Open Blind Wine Tasting Competition. The team scored 85 points, which is 15 points higher than Team USA did in 2017 and would have put them well into the top 10 last year. However, many teams scored unusually high this year. Even last year’s returning champions, the Swedish team, came in 9th place this year with almost the exact same score they won with last year. “The competition this year was fierce and I am very proud of how well Team USA did given all that they were up against” said Mr. Vilja.
Mr. Vilja went on to say, “blind wine tasting has not been as popular in the US as it has been in other countries. People in the US seem to find blind wine tasting to be too intimidating. However, with some education and a basic understanding of main varietals, anyone can become a champion. Of course, the main goal with any wine tasting is to have fun.” That is where Wine Acuity comes in. The company is in development of a new blind wine tasting app that will educate people on wine, while offering a fun and unique experience. The app also provides a look at how you stack up to Team USA, and can be used as a training aid for the 2019 Wine Tasting US Open. Look for the app to be released for iOS and Android devices in the next couple of months.
Each year, Wine Acuity will hold the Wine Tasting US Open in search of a new Team USA that will represent our country in the World Wine Tasting Championship.