How the Super Bowl for Wine Lovers Works

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The Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience is essentially the Super Bowl for wine lovers.

It’s a three-day wine extravaganza with 267 select wine makers from all over the world who come to pour their wines that were rated 90 or better on the Wine Spectator scale of 1-100.


This event, held October 22-24, 2015, at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, is slightly different though. To start, the only major injuries are the result over overconsumption.

But imagine a Super Bowl where the teams played free. They didn’t get salaries, big fat rings or trips to Disney World at the end.

Instead they did it all for charity.

I know, keep dreaming.

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Well, maybe the wine world has imbibed a bit too much, but all of the proceeds from the New York Wine Experience go to the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

“This is our 35th year, and we have raised more than $20 million,” says Bruce Sanderson, senior editor and tasting director of Wine Spectator. The money goes to college programs and learning centers that are dedicated to advancing America's wine and hospitality industries.

So the wineries that are invited must come on their own dime. In addition, they must donate all the wines they pour. And that includes premier French wines like Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Their winemaker will be there and is pouring wines that date as far back as 1989, where a bottle can cost more than $300.

Yet they all still come and bring wines to share and impress.

And basically after Wine Spectator takes care of the venue, the rest all goes to the foundation.

So if you are truly feeling charitable or want to impress a client, the full weekend will cost you about $2,200 a person. But that includes two nights of grand tastings, seminars run by the Wine Spectator's editors and winemakers, and a Saturday night, black-tie grand award banquet with a performance by Huey Lewis and the News.

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While the event used to be held in multiple cities, it has gotten too big. So, since 2013, it is just in New York City, says Sanderson. That means it's your only shot at 267 wines plus Huey Lewis.

If you can’t swing the full weekend, $275 will get you into the grand tastings where more than 250 wines from 15 different countries will be poured.

And Wine Spectator can guarantee that the wines are rated 90+, as they are being extra diligent to ensure that ticket holders get the ultimate experience, says Sanderson

But how do you taste 267 wines? You don’t. You pick a region you have never had before. Or you bring a client who wants to learn. Or better yet, bring a prospective client because it’s a walk around event. You get to taste great wines, have some conversation and meet the players. Because the bigwigs from the vineyards actually show up.

Prince Robert of Luxembourg was there with his infamous Chateau Haut-Brion.

Larry Turley, who graced the Wine Spectator’s June 2013 cover and had one of the top 100 wines in 2014, has been there pouring his own Zinfandels.

Count Stephan von Neipperg, poured his Château Canon La Gaffelière (the 2010 recently was named Wine Spectator's No. 2 wine in their 2013 Top 100).

Even the Kosta Browne guys were on hand to share some of my favorite pinot noirs.

Way cooler than meeting Eli Manning, right?

So maybe I’m just being a girl, but I would swap a Super Bowl ticket and for a Wine Experience pass any day. At least I’m inside drinking great wine and helping the next generation of wine makers.

That’s the power of love, baby.

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