Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Very Special Wine Competition

A couple of weekends ago, I had the privilege of judging at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC), which takes place in Rochester, New York.  There were 2350 entries from 39 states and 14 different countries.  Being an internationally certified wine judge is never something I take lightly but additionally this competition has a very special significance.  I will talk more about the actual judging experience in a future post.  For now, I want to tell you about the charity this competition supports.

All of the proceeds for the FLIWC go to a place called Camp Good Days and Special Times (  This is primarily a children’s cancer camp, where kids get to come and just be kids away from the daily drudgery of dealing with their disease by themselves.  They get to be with other kids who understand what they are going through and to do things they never imagined they would have the opportunity or the ability to do.  The camp is located in Mendon, NY, next to a beautiful lake.  The judges have been treated to lunch there and a special tour of the camp.  This is the off season and the camp is empty, but the impact is very powerful when they describe what goes on there and present the slide show of the children and the various activities.  It was a very emotional visit that I will never forget.

On May 3, 2008, there will be a dinner and auction that will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rochester.  This is a spin off of the competition and brings much needed funding to the Camp.  As you can imagine, it is a very expensive proposition to cover all of the special equipment, medicines, medical facility, and upkeep of a place like this.  The families of these children, who have incredible expenses of their own, don’t have to pay a dime for any of it.  Wine people from all over the world have donated items to this auction and it becomes bigger every year with many very unique wine related items auctioned off.  The judges, who normally get a stipend to judge a competition, also donate their services to judge these wines.

Tickets may purchased through the FLIWC site.  My husband and I are traveling from North Carolina to be there this year.  If you decide to attend this very spectacular function, look me up and introduce yourself.  I am very anxious to meet you.  If you are unable to attend this event but would still like to support this wonderful charity, they accept donations on the Camp Good Days site.

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