If you’ve ever thought you might have what it takes to make wine – now’s your chance.
Returning for its third year, Wine: Baptism of Fire is a winemaking competition for amateurs from MOJO Wine. The only condition of entry is that contestants must never have been professionally employed in winemaking. Those who have worked in wine sales and other areas of wine, or in general hospitality, are still eligible.
Entrants nationwide are to apply in teams of two before January 22. Over the next nine months (from February to October), with the help of a winemaking mentor, teams will choose which grapes (or blend of grapes) to use, then pick, ferment and age their wine using whatever methods and techniques they see fit. After bottling in October, teams will work with a design agency to create a label for their wine before launching it. The winners will be decided in December.
Wine: Baptism of Fire is free to enter. The competition organisers cover all costs, including the grapes and any travel expenses for interstaters.
The winner is determined based on three criteria. The first is the quality of their wine. The second is on contestants’ commitment to the entire task and process. The third is on the marketability of their wine, including the strength of the marketing concept, creative executions and how many bottles are sold.
“No winemakers are in business unless they’re selling wine, so this is, in a sense, a true winemaker experience; they not only have to make a wine, they have to successfully launch a wine,” says competition founder Rory Kent, of Young Guns of Wine.
The winning team is awarded $10,000, and a percentage of profits from the sales of their wine go to their nominated charity.
Kent stresses that while this competition has attracted some notable hospitality types in the past (like Banjo Harris Plane, who was floor manager at Attica at the time; James Hird, co-founder of Rootstock; and Jess Ho, co-owner at Smalls bar, it is open to anyone.
“The first time we ran the competition most of the participants were from the hospitality trade – there was one team of complete outsiders. We thought they were the least likely to have any chance, but they actually won. Knowledge isn’t necessarily an advantage in this thing! It’s interesting, I think if people approach this with fixed ideas, and they don’t have an open mind, it’s probably a disadvantage.”
Registration for Wine: Baptism of Fire is open under January 22. Enter at winebof.com.