Beer & Wine

Event Coverage: The Fifth Annual American Fine Wine Competition VIP Connoisseur Reception

The Fifth Annual American Fine Wine Competition hosted a VIP connoisseur reception Thursday night at Allied Kitchen & Bath in Fort Lauderdale. The event was open to the public and was part of an ongoing series to highlight American wines and vineyards. More than a hundred people attended and sampled wines from last year's competition and a few from the 2012 competition. Money raised from a silent and live auction benefited the Dan Marino Foundation Vocational Campus.

American Fine Wine Competition president Shari Gherman said the competition has gained momentum each year. This year's competition, which took place in January, featured 24 judges -- a mix of sommeliers and other experts from Florida and elsewhere in the U.S. -- evaluating more than 600 American wines in a two-day period.

"I know that sounds like fun, but it's a lot of work," Gherman said.

Gherman said the AFWC features many of the more well-known labels in the country, but that it also highlights a lot of the smaller, lesser-known and family-owned-and-operated wineries.

"Their vineyards are in the backyard and their kids are up early in the morning with them," Gherman said. "(The wine industry) looks so sophisticated, but (the process) is so manual and down to earth."

The next marquee event for the AFWC is a consumer challenge and wine carnival on March 22 at Bogart's of Boca.

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Tricia Woolfenden