This past weekend, I was invited to experience Wine Wars – an innovative fundraising event featuring a wine tasting competition, gourmet food vendors, live DJ, and a fun atmosphere! Benefitting local nonprofit, A Gift For Teaching, Wine Wars offers a unique evening of fun that supports a good cause!
I was so thrilled to check out this creative event, located at the Veranda at Thornton Park. Thank you, Wine Wars, for inviting me out! Now let’s take a closer look at the all the fun, frivolity, and fundraising that Wine Wars offers to individuals, charities, and communities!
One Quick Note: While next year’s Orlando event has yet to be announced, Wine Wars does have upcoming tournaments planned for both Tampa and Miami. Watch their website and social media for more details!
How Does Wine Wars Work?
Before we can really get into the actual experience of Wine Wars, it’s important to understand exactly how the wine tasting competition and event itinerary operates:
Step 1: Forming A Team
Wine Wars participants compete in teams of 1-3 people. Each individual must register on the event’s website and pay a registration fee.
Step 2: Bring the Right Wine
Each Wine Wars event is focused on a specific variety of wine. (For example, Orlando’s 2022 competition featured Cabernets!) Teams are required to bring three bottles of the same brand and type. Two will be utilized for competition tasting while one is saved for the evening’s Grand Prize!
Step 3: Have Fun!
After registering and turning in their wine bottles, it’s time to party! Teams will travel around the venue, tasting various numbered and unidentified bottles of wine. Contestants are encouraged to take notes as they taste so they can eventually vote for their most and least favorite entries.
Between sips, teams can enjoy a photo booth, dance floor, and delicious food vendors!
Step 4: Vote and Be Judged
At the end of the night, it’s time for each player to vote for the best and worst drinks. The winning team will take home the Grand Prize – up to 150 bottles of amazing wine! The losing team will receive the “priviledge” of taking their leftover wine home with them.
The Wine Wars Experience
Now that you understand the logistics, let’s discuss the experience! Wine Wars is definitely a unique event – unlike any other fundraiser I’ve seen – and there’s the potential to raise a good bit of money for local causes. While I can’t drink due to medical issues (and was therefore unable to participate in the wine tasting competition), I still got to enjoy all of the fun atmosphere and amenities at the event!
Despite the torrential rain pouring on an outdoor venue, Wine Wars managed to create an upscale and fun atmosphere. Event participants stayed dry under two large tents, decorated with strategic lighting choices. While the rain presented a few unexpected challenges, it was pretty easy to forget the storm once you arrived and started to have fun!
The Wine Tasting Competition!
The centerpiece of the event was, of course, the wine tasting competition! Each tent had its own large table area with multiple wines encased in burlap bags (to protect anonymity). Pouring their own glasses, competitors traveled around the venue, sipping each wine choice and making notes on their favorite varieties.
As a complement to all the delicious drinks, contestants could purchase refreshments from three local food vendors.
Offering both pork-based meat and assorted cheese charcuterie plates, Gourmet Grazing sold delicious appetizers for both vegetarians and meat eaters!
If you’re interested in ordering your own box or learning about their future events, follow Gourmet Grazing on Instagram!
For the main course, F&H Catering offered three options: beef tenderloin with wild mushroom risotto, shrimp and grits, and a vegetarian dish – roasted portobello mushroom over cheese grits.
Don’t forget dessert! Local cake artist, Daisy Delights, brought a selection of cupcakes, macaroons, and sugar cookies. You can learn more about her beautiful occasion cakes and other desserts by following Daisy Delights on Instagram or checking out their website!
Alkaline Water Station with Ahyssa Dos Santos
To promote hydration (always important but especially when you’re dealing with so much alcohol), health influencer Ahyssa Dos Santos operated her own Alkaline Water Station. There was no additional charge for this water. Instead, Ahyssa was able to share her passion for kangen water and its effects on our physical and mental wellbeing. Follow her Instagram account to see her inspiring content!
In addition to all the fabulous wine and food, event participants enjoyed a photo booth and live DJ – playing all sorts of party hits like “Electric Boogie,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and more!
Wine Wars Winners!
After the votes were counted and the dances were done, it was time to announce the evening’s victors. In addition to the main wine tasting competition, Wine Wars featured two other ways to win: the Photo Booth Contest and Best Team Name!
Photo Booth Contest
At a professionally attended photo booth, Wine Wars guests were encouraged to snap and share fun pictures with their teammates and friends! Each posted picture gave participants the chance to take home a big prize! Congratulations to Instagram user (and contest winner) @rj_tabor! He won a $100 gift card to Hillstone restaurant!
Team Name Contest
Wine tasting participants not only had to vote on their favorite wines, they also had to vote on their favorite Team Name. Congratulations to “Keep My Wife’s Wine Out Your F’in Mouth!” They beat over 60 other teams to win a Total Wine-sponsored party for up to 20 people.
Wine Tasting Contest
But, of course, the biggest stars of the evening were the winners of the wine tasting contest! Congratulations, Whose Vine Is It Anyway for winning the Grand Prize: a massive amount of wine bottles!
About A Gift For Teaching
Wine Wars is, at its core, a fundraising event. Intended to support charitable causes, this year’s Orlando tournament benefits local nonprofit, A Gift For Teaching. A Gift For Teaching supports Orlando-area school teachers and students by providing free school supplies, art lesson development programs, and childhood music instruction. Visit A Gift For Teaching’s website or follow them on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about their important work.
Freaky Thoughts: Wine Wars
What a fun, creative way to support an important cause while enjoying an unforgettable evening! I had a great time taking in the party-like atmosphere and awesome vendors. If you’re a wine fan, don’t miss this opportunity to drink delicious wine, devour yummy food, and dance the night away!