Beer Guy Becomes Wine Guy For a Night

Listen to the East Coast Wine Geeks Wine of the Year Podcast Here! But…read my blog post first.

Enjoying craft beer requires expansion of the limitations you put on the beverages you consume. If you’ve been a slave to one particular brand of light beer for years and years, you have to knock down the barriers that prevent you from enjoying the other options available to you. You must expand your comfort zone and try new things.

Of course, that methodology doesn’t just exist on a beer level. Breaking out of your comfort zone is how you succeed in business, how you get the boy or girl you want, how you meet new people, and how you develop as a human being.

For a guy that started drinking beer in his mid-teens (you all did, too…stop judging) and loved it, wine was pretty far off my radar. To tell a quick tale of my minimal involvement with wine, at a younger (legal) age, I was invited to the Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Dinner at the Lexus Club inside PNC Park where I THOUGHT wine was the only beverage being served. Three glasses in and I was slurring. Not drunk…just slurring. Made me think twice about my consumption of wine in public settings.

But as I’ve aged, my tastes have undoubtedly changed, so I decided to give it another whirl. At this point, I am so far away from what anyone would consider a wine guy, you would need an industrial-strength telescope to see my knowledge. So far, I’ve learned I’m a fan of Apothic Red and White, and most wine aficionados laugh at wine from a box. But I’m appreciating wine more and more each time I familiarize myself with it.

Wine of the Year Contest SettingAll that said, I was honored to be asked to serve as the “beer guy” on a panel of judges for the East Coast Wine Geek’s Wine of the Year Podcast on February 21st, 2014! This was a new scene for me, but I was more than willing to meet some new faces and have a go at the wine judging game.

Throughout the year, the East Coast Wine Geeks discuss, among lots of other things as you’ll hear if you tune into their podcasts, a specific bottle of wine and the various elements that make its contents worth consuming. Through their own scoring system that breaks down sight, aroma, taste, and overall impact, they ranked each wine they covered and narrowed it down to four choices that would earn the prestigious title of ‘Wine of the Year.’

The judges for this event were chosen from outside the group and brought different backgrounds to the table. UNFORTUNATELY, some of the chosen judges brought excuses to the table and decided to cancel last minute, while others had unfortunate events that prevented them from attending. FORTUNATELY, there were enough fans of wine in the house to assemble the most fascinating, intelligent, and expertise-laden judging committee in the world (data unofficial).

After sampling four different wines that resonated varying viewpoints on aromas and tastes, as well as some humorous comments about said aromas and tastes, the winning wine was crowned in a landslide!

The following description of the winning wine, Frank Family Vineyards 2011 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir, was provided by Jennifer Stockdale and the rest of the Wine Geeks crew on Episode 140 of their podcast. Thanks for providing this, Jen!

Wine of the Year Winner!

And there you have it. The 2013 Wine of the Year has been crowned!

What I took from the opportunity to judge this contest was two-fold. Not only did I get to expand my own comfort zone and learn more about a drink I’m appreciating more these days, but also that life has so many enjoyable things to offer, whether it be in the drink you consume, the food you eat, the activities you do, or the people you meet. Think of how many things you’ve missed out on simply because it was something you weren’t used to.

Expand your comfort zone. Enjoy a craft beer. Sip a glass of award-winning wine. Sky dive. Just enjoy what’s in front of you!


I’d like to personally thank the East Coast Wine Geeks for inviting me to partake in this extremely fun evening, as well as Jen and Chris Stockdale for inviting me into their home. I hope this was just the first time we get to enjoy a glass of wine together!

Click Here to listen to the East Coast Wine Geeks’ Wine of the Year Podcast!



Jason Cercone


Good Times and Good Blog Features Are Better When They're Shared!

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