Influential Spanish Winery Celebrates Century Mark by Offering $5,000 Competition Bounty

<p>Courtesy of Ramón Bilbao</p>

Courtesy of Ramón Bilbao

Bodegas Ramón Bilbao, the pioneering winery founded in 1924 in Haro, Rioja, is celebrating their 100 year anniversary. This marks more than just a centennial—2024 stands as an ode to their longstanding artistic approach to winemaking that embodies Rioja’s excellence, while continuing to push boundaries forward. The winery is now one of the Bodegas Centenarias (100 year old wineries) based in Rioja, Spain! They found the perfect way to celebrate this momentous anniversary with their bi-annual Spanish Wine Master Competition and bringing it to the USA for the very first time!

Sign up to be a Spanish Wine Master here

A steadfast presence in the viticulture landscape, Ramón Bilbao sources from 618 acres of estate vineyards of unique plots situated at high altitudes in prime growing areas across Rioja Alta (Villaba, Cuzcurrita or Ábalos) and Rioja Oriental (Tudelilla or Monte Yerga). In 1999, Ramón Bilbao became part of the family-owned Zamora Company and brought on Rodolfo Bastida as Chief Enologist and Technical Director. Under Rodolfo’s stewardship, the viticultural team modernized the portfolio by reinvigorating a new style of wine that is contemporary, fresh and fruit-forward.

Vineyards of Bodegas Ramón Bilbao<p>Courtesy of Zamora Company</p>
Vineyards of Bodegas Ramón Bilbao

Courtesy of Zamora Company

The Spanish Wine Master x 100 Years competition is open to Spanish wine enthusiasts, educators and advocates interested in showcasing their expertise and tasting skills, while redefining the way we understand and experience wine. This competition is open to all individuals who are legal residents of the United States, above the legal drinking age of 21+ and have a valid passport through the end of the year.

<p>Courtesy of Zamora Company</p><ul><li>Stage 1: <strong>Registration</strong> - <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sign up here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">sign up here</a></li></ul><p>Individuals who are legal residents of the United States, above the legal drinking age of 21+ and have a valid passport through the end of the year are allowed to enter. Participants must take a one-time online timed test consisting of 50 questions about geography, history of wine, grape varieties, winemaking and tasting notes where they will have to guess the style of the wines described. The test must be completed before March 15th, 2024. Participants may register one day and complete the test on a different day during the registration period, however, they cannot leave the website once the online test is live. Only the top 30 participants will advance on to the semifinal for the chance to compete for the title of Spanish Wine Master.</p><ul><li>Stage 2: <strong>Semi-Final</strong></li></ul><p>On April 15th, 2024 the top 30 semi-finalists will face off in two intense challenges during a hybrid-format live stream event: a blind tasting and a fast-paced test of visual dexterity. The semi-finalists will be mailed a kit containing samples of wines which they will be instructed to save until the date of the competition. The tasting portion of this phase will last one hour and the participants will be asked to taste the wine samples that they received and answer questions relating to the organoleptic analysis, region, grape variety, soils, climate, or geography. The second section of the semifinal will test participants' knowledge through a one hour interactive screen multiple choice test based on Spanish wine culture, history, geography or grape varieties. The announcement of the 10 finalists who will move onto the grand finale will be made live at the end of the semi-final.</p><ul><li>Stage 3: <strong>Final</strong></li></ul><p>This final stage of the competition will take place in-person in New York City on May 16th, 2024. The final will consist of a series of 3 rounds, where the finalists will be asked to blind taste several wines as well as answer questions relating to the following topics: explain the taste profile of a wine, region, variety, geography, history and culture. The exact rounds will be revealed during the final event in front of a grand jury of renowned industry experts. The tastings as well as the questions will be graded on a points system according to the answers that the judges give for the same questions.</p><ul><li>Stage 4: <strong>The Winner</strong></li></ul><p>The finalist who receives the most points at the end of the 3 rounds will be awarded the grand cash prize of $5,000 USD and crowned as the first US based Spanish Wine Master. The US winner, along with five other winners from participating countries, (UK, Spain, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Mexico) will be invited to participate in the grand finale in Rioja during the fall of 2024 for an additional prize that will be announced following the semi-final stage of the competition.</p>

"We are thrilled to delve into the world of Spanish wine with sommeliers, wine lovers, industry experts and enologists based in the United States," says Chief Winemaker of Ramón Bilbao, Rodolfo Bastida. "We have curated this extraordinary edition of the competition to honor our wineries' 100th anniversary with special guest judges, competitive tests and an incentivizing cash prize to whomever can prove they are the ultimate Spanish Wine Master."