U.S. Winner Announced to Head to Jerez for the Tio Pepe Challenge 2018

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Valentino Longo from the Four Seasons Surfside in Miami, FL wins the U.S. Tío Pepe Challenge from González Byass and will compete on behalf of the U.S. in the International Finals in Jerez, Spain this May.

Valentino mixing his Tío Pepe cocktail, Call me Cristoforo

The results are in and Valentino Longo from Four Seasons Surfside in Miami, FL is heading to Jerez, Spain to compete on behalf of the U.S. in the Tío Pepe Challenge International Finals. This was the first time that the Tío Pepe Challenge took place in the U.S.

The Tío Pepe Challenge was created by leading Sherry producer, González Byass, to inspire mixologists from around the world to create original, great tasting cocktails using Sherry as their principle ingredient. Valentino competed against five other bartenders from around the U.S. on Tuesday, March 20 at Leyenda in Brooklyn, NY. The six competitors had to test their knowledge of Sherry through a blind tasting, showcase their use of a venencia (the tool traditionally used to extract Sherry from the barrel), and finally, to create a cocktail mixed with Sherry.

The judges, which included Julie Reiner and Ivy Mix of Leyenda, alongside Mixologist Zane Harris, Cliff Rames from Tasting Panel Magazine and González Byass Brand Ambassador Alvaro Plata, judged on all three aspects and selected Valentino based on the creativity of using Tío Pepe in his cocktail and the knowledge and skill displayed.

Valentino will go on to compete at the International Final, which will be held on May 9, 2018 during the world-famous Feria de Jerez. The top 14 bartenders from around the world, who have created the best Sherry cocktail recipes, will compete and battle it out live in front of a panel of renowned, international experts.

Due to the increased popularity behind the Sherry Revolution, pioneered by González Byass, one of the world’s leading Sherry producers, the Tío Pepe Challenge allows aspiring Sherry experts to test their knowledge about this wonderful fortified wine. The Challenge is designed to inform, educate and instruct on crucial aspects of Sherry
In addition to Valentino, the other five competitors in the 2018 U.S. Tío Pepe Challenge were: John Aquino from Coast Bar & Grill in Charleston, SC; Matthew Korzelius from The Roosevelt Room in Austin, TX; Jeremy Lake from Roseliné in Los Angeles, CA; Jared Sadoian from The Hawthorne in Boston, MA; and Benjamin Wood from Beatnik in Chicago, IL.

Call Me Cristoforo by Valentino Longo

  • 2 oz Tío Pepe
  • 0.75 oz Pedro Ximenex
  • 1.5 oz Tomato and Strawberry Shrub
  • 0.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 oz Cedrata Tassoni

Glass: White wine glass
Decoration: Served with Dry yellow tomatoes, corn shoots and essence of rosemary

About González Byass
González Byass is a family-owned, collection of wineries founded in 1835 which spans across Spain’s most important wine producing regions. From its foundation the González family have been dedicated to making fine Sherries and brandies in Jerez, Spain, creating such well-known brands as Tío Pepe Fino Sherry and Lepanto Brandy de Jerez.

Today the fifth generation of the family are the custodians of these exceptional brands having built the company into a family of wineries which produces wine in some of Spain’s most famous regions; Bodegas Beronia (Rioja and Rueda), Cavas Vilarnau (Barcelona), Finca Constancia (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla), Finca Moncloa (Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz), Viñas del Vero (Somontano) and Pazo de Lusco (Rías Baixas). In each of these regions the family strives to make the best possible quality wines respecting the local terroir and the environment.

At the same time the company has also expanded its interests further in the premium spirits business and has created pioneering brands such as The London No.1, MOM Gin, Druide Vodka and Nomad Outland Whisky.

González Byass is now one of Spain’s most well-recognized brand owners world-wide. Their passion for quality wine production and respect for long-standing traditions -whilst at the same time innovating- have been the guiding principles that have led to the company’s global success.

Learn more at http://www.gonzalezbyass.com.

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Rebekah Polster
Donna White Communications
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