Largest BYOB Party Ever, James Beard Awards, Kevin Zraly

Last night the James Beard Awards were held in New York City. Many of the wine and food luminaries were of course in attendance, those getting awards and those merely watching the festivities. I really like this article in The Atlantic about the Awards.

For those of us who were not invited or prize winners, one had to celebrate in other ways. Luckily, my friend Eric Orange of Local Wine Events invited me to Kevin Zraly’s after party which was billed as the largest BYOB party.

I am not sure how many people where there but it seemed like a rockin’ crowd to me. I saw many of the wine world luminaries I know and some I do not. Kevin won the Lifetime Achievement award for his work in the field. Hats off to him. I have sat in on many of his classes and enjoy his enthusiasm and warmth, verve and energy when teaching. Many of his former colleagues from Windows on The World were in attendance which was very touching.

Hudson Chatham Baco Noir

Everyone brought a wine to the event. I tasted a number of wines including some that I had never tried such as a Baco Noir from the Hudson-Chatham Winery. I was favorably surprised.

I also tried Merican, a Bordeaux blend made by Eric Miller of Chaddsford Winery in Pennsylvania. I had heard about Chaddsford from my Society of Wine Educators friend Mark for a few years now but had never tried their wines. I was impressed.

Chaddsford Winery

Apparently, Eric and Kevin go back 40 years to early days at the Depuy Canal House in the Hudson Valley. Many of Kevin’s old friends were in attendance and it was touching all around.

The best wine of the evening that I tried was a 1960 Bertani. It was so alive and still filled with fruit and spice, acidity and finesse. This 50 year old wine was drinking beautifully. Tomorrow I hope to write about my experiences at the Bertani home in Verona during Vinitaly. Quite memorable but for today just a congratulations to Kevin Zraly and other winners.


  1. That must have been amazing! I’m slightly jealous of that Amarone, and intrigued by the Baco Noir… I did have some outstanding Amarone at the Vias portfolio tasting on Monday though… ;-). Cheers! Sean of Notable Wine.

    • Sean,
      Thanks for commenting. It was quite memorable. I had never had a Baco Noir and I must say I was impressed. I didn’t get to the Vias tasting. I bet that was great too. I love their portfolio.

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