The Big Game is the most watched TV event in U.S. history for the past five years. The two-week lull preceding the actual playoff produces a buildup of hype and anticipation that consumes all. David and Susan Parker capitalized on this frenzy and challenged the Wine Stewards to a “Blind Wine Tasting Championship.” Members accepted this challenge and arrived at the Parker household in their favorite team colors. They were divided into groups, handed a score sheet and directed to six different stations. At each station were three different bottles of wine, completely masked and numbered. On each table was a fact sheet listing the identity of the masked bottles along with the characteristics of each wine. Members had to read the description, sip the wine and match the numbered bottle to the correct description. Various snacks and appetizers accompanied the members on their journey, making the task completely enjoyable. Competition was fierce as men competed against women and casual drinkers competed against sophisticated drinkers. Why taste blind? Tasting a wine blind forces the taster to concentrate on every tiny aspect of the wine. Any knowledge you have about a wine can cloud your judgement or influence your assessment. Perhaps you do not like merlot. Any merlot you taste will already have one strike against it before it even hits your lips and sway your opinion. The best way to make an honest assessment is to know nothing at all. For six years Texas A&M University invited people to taste wines labeled “France,” “California,” “Texas.” While nearly all tasters ranked the French as best, in fact all three were the same Texan wine. David and Susan upped the challenge by selecting unusual wines such as an unoaked chardonnay and Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno (an Italian Red). A Shiraz, cabernet, pinot noir, Malbec, merlot, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, brut cava and prosecco spumante were also featured. The final test featured three masked bottles of port wine: ruby, tawny and reserve. Members lingered over this test the longest. Perhaps it was the heaping plate of luscious, gooey, dark chocolate brownies placed alongside the bottles. Just like the Big Game, the winning team received mementoes of their accomplishment. Instead of rings, each was given a wine bottle trophy to display proudly. Truly, the Wine Stewards had a most enjoyable and educational evening.