I was intrigued recently to read Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page’s weekly wine column in The Washington Post describing initiation into the Wine Century Club. The concept is simple: download a checklist of common and off-the-beaten-path wine varietals, try 100 of them, mail in your completed list, and receive a free certificate designating you as a member of the Wine Century Club (bragging rights included.)
I boldly but wrongly figured that in all of the tastings I have held and attended, reaching 100 varietals would be simple. Truth be told, getting past 75 or so was a bit of a challenge. Luckily, blends count, so being friends with Côtes du Rhone, Ports and Spanish reds beefed up my total. I also reviewed past tasting notes and rediscovered wines I forgot that I tried—not every bottle is memorable. Blank space on the checklist exists for write-ins, so popular local grapes in Virginia wines (my current home) as well as in Pennsylvania wines (my native state) pushed me over the minimum requirement.
A few weeks ago, I sent in my completed checklist, making sure to include a buffer in case there were any discrepancies. Last week I was pleased to receive my certificate, suitable for framing. The included letter said that only 3.3% of those who download the application actually complete it and mail it in. While there are only currently a few hundred members of the club, the eventual goal is to surpass the number of subscribers of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate—currently 40,000.
For more information and to download the checklist, visit the Wine Century Club’s Web site, www.winecentury.com. Good luck, and happy sipping!
Kelly Magyarics is a wine writer and educator in the Washington, D.C. area. Kelly can be reached through her website, which is www.trywine.net.