Sail Away Wine hosts “Sommelier Showdown” benefitting Hope House

Refrigerated wine machines at Sail Away Wine

Refrigerated wine machines at Sail Away Wine. // Courtesy of Sara Beane

Sail Away Wine proves that drinking can be for a good cause with their Sommelier Showdown 2023.

Entrants will compete for the title of “Kansas City’s Sage of Wine 2023.” The event will raise money for Hope House, a domestic violence shelter in the Kansas City area. Participants will do a blind taste test of one glass of wine and then will be given three minutes to fill out a questionnaire about the wine selection.

In-house sommelier Katie Hendley encourages participants to enter the Sommelier Showdown regardless of experience level, and not to be deterred by the name, as no formal sommelier skills are necessary to partake. “It’s not about being able to answer sommelier questions,” Hendley says, “it’s more about expressing enjoyment and curiosity about wine. Most people are better than they think, as long as they keep their mind open and give their impression of the wine.”

From now until Jan. 29, interested participants can enter the contest in-store (309 Armour Road) for a fee of $15. All entry fees are donated to Hope House.

The initial contestant pool will be narrowed down to the top 32 competitors until the final four contestants compete in person March 1 for a chance to win a $1,000 cash prize.

Last year's winner stands with the staff of Hope House

Last year’s Sommelier Showdown winner, Steven Hultgren, stands with the staff of Hope House, including CEO MaryAnne Metheny on the right. // Photo by Sara Beane

This is the second year Sail Away Wine is bringing the Sommelier Showdown to the community. The inaugural Sommelier Showdown in 2022 celebrated Sail Away Wine’s first six months of business, and was emceed by former Kansas City Mayor, Sly James. Hendley says this year’s event will see a new emcee, to be determined.

Last year’s “Kansas City Sage of Wine” winner was local connoisseur Steven Hultgren, who prevailed over around 65 open entrants, according to Hendley. Hendley also celebrates the fact that last year’s runner-up had no professional wine experience.

This friendly competition for a good cause is now an annual event to look forward to. Hendley says Sail Away Wine wanted to make this a yearly event “not only to provide knowledge about the charity we’re representing, but also to provide North Kansas City a community and a place to hang out.”

Hendley says wine gives the drinker the ability to “at least in [their] mind and in [their] glass, go around the world on a trip without the expense.” At Sail Away Wine’s Sommelier Showdown, you can enjoy this indulgent journey and benefit charity simultaneously.

Categories: Beer & Spirits