The 4th Annual WINE RIVAL returns September 22 at Venue West


After a two-year hiatus, The 4th Annual WINE RIVAL (formerly Somm Madness) returns on Thursday, September 22, 2022 to award the title of 2022 WINE RIVAL Champion at Venue West (221 N Paulina Street).

Tickets are $50 and the evening includes a premium Tailgate tasting from 6-9 p.m. and the WINE RIVAL Tasting Tournament from 7-10 p.m. The event is hosted by Adam Sweders, creator of WINE RIVAL.

WINE RIVAL brings together the country’s sommelier community and wine lovers for a blind tasting tournament. Sixty-four people will compete to qualify for the championship round with the ultimate hope of winning the grand prize: $10,000 in cash. There is also a cash prize of $3,000 for the runner-up and a cash prize of $1,000 for the 3rd and 4th place contestants.

At 6:00 p.m. the event will kick off with an over-the-top tailgate tasting, the pre-party to the main event which will run for the first half of the competition until 9:00 p.m. Ticket holders will have access to over 300 luxury wines during a walking tasting as well as a large display of endless bites. While feasting on fine appetizers and a selection of treats, guests can sample wineries such as Jordan, Moet Hennessy, Louis Roederer, Heitz, and more. At 7 p.m., the WINE RIVAL Tournament begins. All ticket holders can attend the tournament while the 64 registered competitors try their luck in the tasting tournament led by the judges.

While ticket holders watch, each contestant will participate in a blind, tournament-style taste test and be given a specified time to provide written responses in accordance with CMS standards. The winner will advance to the next round, similar to March Madness. For a chance to participate in the 4th Annual WINE RIVAL Tournament, visit Registration is open now and final rankings will be announced September 19, 2021. General admission tickets can be purchased here.

ROUND 1: 64

32 matches • 1 wine • 90 seconds

ROUND 2: 32

16 matches • 1 wine • 90 seconds


8 Pairings • 2 Wines • 3 minutes


4 Pairings • 2 Wines • 3 minutes


2 Pairings • 2 Wines • 3 minutes


1 Match • 2 Wines • 3 minutes

*Entrants must provide verbal responses in accordance with CMS standards. All participants and spectators must purchase a Tailgate Tasting ticket.

Event Judges

  • DLYNN PROCTOR – DLynn Proctor has been a fixture in the wine industry for 20 years. As a senior winery executive, DLynn has spent the past decade holding global leadership positions at Penfolds Winery and Fantesca Estate & Winery, focusing on import/export, sales, marketing, strategy and consumer relations. During the previous decade of his career, he was instrumental in creating catering and training programs, wine lists for private clients and retailers, and expanding the operation of new places, while earning accolades as an accomplished sommelier. DLynn has appeared in TV and film, including international wine documentary series SOMM and SOMMTV, as well as an associate producer on Netflix feature Uncorked. DLynn is also co-founder of Wine Unify, a non-profit organization that provides funding, mentorship and access to underrepresented minorities in the food and beverage industry.

  • AMELIA SINGER, INTERNATIONAL WINE INFLUENCER + TV PERSONALITY – Communicator and wine educator. HULU TV presenter on The Wine Show. Previous wine writer for Waitrose in the UK. UK Ambassador for the California Wine Institute. Founder of Amelia’s Wine – an event and media company that offers a range of original, fun, useful and ultimately relevant wine experiences and content. IWSC and WSET Future 50 Award Winner which recognizes innovative and influential talent in the beverage industry worldwide.

  • JOHN LALOGANES, AUTHOR AND DIRECTOR OF BEVERAGE MANAGEMENT, KENDALL COLLEGE – ACP 2012 “Sommelier/Wine Steward of the Year.” Founder and educator of Kendall’s Wine Professional program. Winner of the Global Products & Services Award for Innovation. Beverage book judge for the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Author of books such as The Essentials of Wine & Food Pairing Techniques and more.

  • JOSEPH SPELLMAN, MASTER SOMMELIER – Frequent instructor + examiner at the Court of Master Sommeliers. Named “Best Sommelier in the World for French Wines & Spirits” and Bon Appétit “Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year” in 1998. Contributor to Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, Health, Decanter and Appellation.

A portion of the proceeds will go to The Balance Project. Based in Highland Park, The Balance Project is a non-profit organization that helps families and individuals access emotional wellness support. They build mental health awareness through education and community programs, and connect individuals to resources and treatment. Part of their mission is to try to break down financial barriers for everyone to find a better balance.

Tickets are $50 each. All attendees and spectators must purchase a Tailgate Tasting ticket to attend. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Stay tuned for updates at @winerival_official on Facebook and Instagram. For more information and/or questions, please email [email protected]


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