Comments icon Comments
Wine Food Festival

The 3rd Annual Somm Madness, presented by Chicago-based hospitality group, DineAmic, returns on April 14, 2019, starting at 4pm at Builders BLDG (222 N LaSalle St). Once again, the nation’s wine and sommelier community, along with passionate wine enthusiasts will come together for a blind tasting tournament. Sixty-four individuals from across the country will go head-to-head to advance to the championship round with the hope of taking home the grand prize of $10,000 in cash.

Hosted by Adam Sweders, creator of Somm Madness and DineAmic’s Wine Director and co-hosted by Sommelier Jon McDaniel (Food & Wine’s 2018 Sommelier of the Year) will lead the evening presiding over the tournament and providing wine color commentary throughout the night. At the end of the evening, they will name one competitor the 2019 Somm Madness Champion.  

At 4pm, the event kicks off with a Tailgate Tasting held on the mezzanine level of Builders BLDG, a pre-party to the main event. Ticket holders will have access to more than 200 wines in a walk-around tasting as well as a display of endless bites provided by DineAmic restaurants. Guests will enjoy Prime & Provisions’ Alaskan King Crab Legs and Siena Tavern’s truffle cream Gnocchi while sampling from wineries that include some of the most iconic names in the world, including Silver Oak, Jordan, and Duckhorn. At 6pm, the Somm Madness Tournament begins. All ticket holders can watch the tournament while the 64 registered competitors try their luck at the tasting tournament led by renowned judges.

Event Judges  

  • Serafin Alvarado, Master Sommelier: Director of Wine Education, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of IL. Sommelier at Charlie Trotter's, 2005 recipient of the Bill Rice distinguished Sommelier of the Year Award, Crain's Chicago's "The Top 40 Under 40" Winner. Board Member for The Guild of Sommeliers, and Chair of The Guild of Sommelier's Scholarship Committee.

  • Fred Dame, Master Sommelier: A Global Wine Ambassador for DAOU Vineyards & Winery. Founder of the American Branch of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Former Vice President of Prestige Accounts for American Wine & Spirits of California. An inductee of the American Academy of Chef's Hall of Fame. One of only 250 individuals worldwide to have passed the Master Sommelier Examination. Winner of the coveted Krug Cup of British Guild of Sommeliers in 1984. Active member of the Confrérie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs. Chairman of Board of Holds honorary professorships at Purdue University and The University of South Carolina.

  • John Laloganes, Author & Director of Beverage Management, Kendall College: IACP 2012's "Sommelier/Wine Steward of the Year." Founder and educator of Kendall's Wine Professional Program. Laureate Global Products & Services Award for Innovation. Beverage Book Judge for International Association of Culinary Professionals. Author of highly-acclaimed books such as The Essentials of Wine & Food Pairing Techniques and more.

  • Joseph Spellman, Master Sommelier: A frequent instructor & examiner in the Court of Master Sommeliers. Named "Best Sommelier in the World in French Wines & Spirits" and 1998's Bon Appetit "Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year." Contributor to Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, Sante, Decanter, and Appellation

While ticket holders look on, each competitor will partake in a blind taste test, tournament-style, and have a specified amount of time to provide written answers in accordance with CMS Standards. The winner will advance to the next round, similar to March Madness. For a chance to compete in the 3rd Annual Somm Madness Tournament, visit Registration is open March 1 - April 1, 2019, and final seedings will be announced on April 9, 2019. General admission tickets can be purchased here.

  • ROUND 1: 64

    • 32 Matches  / 1 Wine / 90 seconds

  • ROUND 2: 32

    • 16 Matches  / 1 Wine / 90 seconds

  • ROUND 3: SWEET 16

    • 8 Matches  / 2 Wines / 3 minutes

  • ROUND 4: ELITE 8

    • 4 Matches  / 2 Wines /  3 minutes

  • ROUND 5: FINAL 4*

    • 2 Matches  / 2 Wines / 3 minutes

  • ROUND 6: CHAMPIONSHIP (*Participants must provide answers verbally in accordance with CMS Standards)

    • 1 Match  / 2 Wines  / 3 minutes

This year, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the James Beard Foundation's Impact Programs. The JBF Impact Programs are committed to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership.

Tickets are $100 each. All contestants and spectators must purchase a Tailgate Tasting ticket to attend. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Stay tuned for updates at @dineamicgroup on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For additional information and / or questions, please email  


View Comments (0)