Wine is often accused of being a stuck up and snobbery affair but the 2010 Woodinville Wine Maker and Brew Master Triathlon shattered that myth. This was a wine event featuring costumes, dunk tanks, floating barrels and one of the tackiest trophies I had ever seen; all to benefit the Mitochondrial Research Guild of Seattle Children’s.
Wineries, Redhook Brewery and Willows Lodge put together triathlon teams to compete for the prestigious and often contentious (Just ask Chris Gorman!) claim as winner. Teams were composed of employees and volunteers of the wineries that they represented. The wine makers were supposed to be paddling the final leg of the race and running to the finish line, while the rest of their team ran the formal running part of the race and bicycling legs of the race. The race was plotted out along the Sammish slough, beginning at Willows Lodge and ending at Redhook Brewery.
A VIP watching area was set up along the slough outside Redhook Brewery for patrons to watch the boat launch, the bike to boat baton hand off and the wine makers cross the finish line. The mosquitoes thought they were the VIPs of the party, but after a little bug spray, some Washington wine and beer and lots of cheering, who cared? Jarrod Boyle of Alexandria Nicole Cellars was the first boat in the water but Erica Blue of Adams Bench was the first winemaker in the water. Erica was far from the last wine maker to end up in the water. Most of the impromptu swims happened as the wine makers were launching their boats into the water but a couple tipped once out in the water. Considering the condition of the Sammish slough that shows real dedication to supporting Seattle Children’s! Although most wineries went with the traditional kayak or canoe, others used other boats or even barrels to try to get their way down the slough.
In the boat launch area, the Mitochondrial Research Guild of Seattle Children’s set up posters educating the patrons about the cause they were supporting. Just adjacent to the prime viewing area was the wine and beer garden. Participating wineries had tastes of their bottles of wine poured by Seattle Uncorked volunteers. We watched the wine makers come across the finish line but we still didn’t know who the winner was. Two reasons delayed the announcement until the after party. The first reason was that the teams had 15 second start intervals. The other reason was that guests could “sponsor” a winery when they purchased their tickets. Guests could shave 10 seconds off the race time of their favorite winery by selecting the winery when they purchased their tickets.
The After Party was held in the Redhook Brewery “bowl” where music, food, wine, fun and games reigned. Gorgeous summer picnic weather tried to keep the wine makers as they survived or got dunked in the dunk tank. For $10 you had 3 chances to dunk your favorite wine maker or for $50 for Seattle Children’s you got a guaranteed dunk. Bob Betz had the longest line of people to pay up and dunk him but Hillary Sjolund of DiStefano Winery got dunked the most.
The winners are…
JM Cellars, one of the event sponsors, won the triathlon. They won the big trophy full of Redhook beer which they guzzled on the stage. Notice the physique of their bottling volunteers, it is sure to keep the good natured controversy over winners continuing into 2010.
Not every winery raced in costume but those that did were worthy of recognition. It was a hot summer day to be running in leather pants and kayaking in a leather jacket but that didn’t stop Des Voigne Cellars from racing as the rock group KISS. Keeping it all in the family Cullin Hills Winery were hilarious in their construction costumes. Fruit of the Loom inspired Alexandria Nicole Cellars, while Chandler Reach went for classic grapes.
Patterson Cellars won for the best non-motorized boat category for their barrel raft. After talking to John and Stephanie after the race about their steering issues they might disagree that it was best, but I sure give it kudos for guts and sticking to the wine theme.