Sam's Wines & Spirits 'Ultimate Wine IQ Challenge' Begins Oct. 6-7; Chicago's Smartest Wine Consumer Will Earn $1,000 Sam's Shopping Spree

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This first-in-Chicago wine tasting tournament will kick off on Saturday Oct. 6 and Sunday Oct. 7 at Sam's stores in Lincoln Park, Downers Grove and Highland Park with the first elimination round plus a weekend of tastings, games and other festivities. Two other elimination rounds will follow, culminating in early December in a grand finale at the new Sam's store set to open in the South Loop.

Can you list the five top wine-producing countries in the world? Distinguish a Chardonnay from a Sauvignon Blanc without looking at the bottle? Identify a vintage from Spain versus one from New Zealand in a blind taste test? Now you can show off your wine wisdom by competing in the Ultimate Wine IQ Challenge, a competition presented by Sam's Wines & Spirits to find the smartest wine consumer in Chicago. Warning: no professional sommeliers allowed.

This first-in-Chicago wine tasting tournament will kick off on Saturday Oct. 6 and Sunday Oct. 7 at Sam's stores in Lincoln Park, Downers Grove and Highland Park with the first elimination round plus a weekend of tastings, games and other festivities. Two other elimination rounds will follow, culminating in early December in a grand finale at the new Sam's store set to open in the South Loop.

The grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 shopping spree at Sam's, with $250 in Sam's merchandise for the two runners-up.

Round I on Oct. 6-7 will consist of a 20-question written wine IQ test that will be given throughout both days in a special testing corner in each store. The stores will also offer wine and spirits tastings from Sam's huge inventory, treats from Sam's gourmet food market, quiz stations where shoppers will be challenged to "Stump the Wine Expert" for prizes, and music and other entertainment.

Individuals with the 30 best scores from each store will be invited back for the Round II store-level finals in late October, consisting of written, verbal and blind taste tests at each Sam's site. The five finalists from each store will then participate in the Round III semifinals at Sam's Lincoln Park location in mid-November.

The top three contestants in Round III will advance to the finals and compete for the grand prize in a quiz show-style verbal and blind tasting at the new South Loop store during the first week in December.

Judges for the early rounds will be members of Sam's wine knowledge team. Celebrity judges for the final round will include Brian Rosen, Sam's President and CEO; Howard Davis, President of KDK Group, whose restaurants include Marche, Opera, Gioco and Red Light; and Belinda Chang, Sommelier for Tramanto's Steakhouse.

The competition will span Old and New World wines as well as unique wines from the U.S. Complete rules and store phone numbers are available online at http://www.samswine.com. Ready, set, taste!

About Sam's Wines & Spirits
Founded in 1946, Sam's now has three stores in the Chicago area that stock more than 8,000 wines, 2,500 spirits and 1,200 beers and will be opening a fourth location in the South Loop in November. Sam's online store at http://www.samswine.com is one of the best-known wine brands on the Internet. The company has been honored as Retailer of the Year by both Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator magazines, has earned several Best of the Web awards from Forbes, and was recently named the best wine store in Lincoln Park by Chicago magazine.

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Robert Weiss
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