It’s Not Aspen

Back in October my friend told me about a contest hosted by Cupcake Vineyards. To enter you had to upload a picture of a dessert to Instagram and then come up with a name for one of their upcoming wine blends inspired by your picture. I was game! I figured what do I have to loose? The grand prize was an all expense paid trip for two to Aspen Colorado for the 2013 Food and Wine Classic. A foodie’s dream come true! I didn’t think I stood a chance, but what did I have to loose?

I submitted the picture below of my chocolate cherry baby cakes (chocolate cupcakes with a cherry pie filling toped with a chocolate ganache and a cherry on top) and came up with the name Black Forest. I imagined a red wine with cherry notes.  If you aren’t familiar with Cupcake wines I will fill you in. Desserts inspire their most popular wines. For example they have a red wine called Red Velvet and a white wine called Angel Food. I thought my submission was pretty basic but would make any judge’s mouth water.

Chocolate Cherry Baby Cakes

4 months later… I received an email from someone at a large marketing firm in New York notifying me that I was the “potential GRAND PRIZE WINNER.”

WHAT?!?! I nearly died! No way! But what did “potential” mean? I followed their instructions and contacted them via email.  I quickly got a response. All it said was, “Can you confirm you live in California?”

I enthusiastically replied, “Yes! That is correct!”

While waiting for a response I started dreaming of what an awesome getaway it would be. Fantasies of meeting some of the greatest chefs danced through my head. My belly was delighted at the thought of enjoying some of the most delicious cuisine ever. I knew my husband and I would enjoy every minute of our getaway to Aspen. I squealed with joy and shared the awesome news with all my coworkers. I had actually won! Holy crap!

Minutes later, I received another reply saying they regretted to inform me, but I had been disqualified. Are you kidding me?!?! Dis-freaking-qualified! Apparently California is the only state in the U.S. that prohibits residents from receiving prizes from contests hosted or sponsored by alcohol companies. How could this be possible? My dream prize was at my fingertips and then just snatched out of my reach in an instant.

I begged and pleaded and asked if there was anything I could do but there wasn’t. I even told them I had family members out of state as though that would do me any good. I was grasping, I know. They did try and cheer me up by letting me know that California had repealed the law so as of 2013 I may now participate in these sorts of contests. What good does that do me right now?

Heartbroken and devastated, it suddenly dawned on me what the “potential” meant. They had to confirm I met all the regulations. Uggghhhhh… I had won, but then again not really at all. (I won’t deny, lots of profanity spewed from my mouth.)

It was a very weird mix of emotions. I was definitely devastated and really pissed off that I didn’t get this prize of a lifetime but at the same time I was pretty darn stoked. Had it not been for this one stupid California law I would have received my first recognition as an amateur cook. Won my first ever contest that was because of my talent, not just because of good luck. That is a really rewarding feeling, so I am moving on.

Cupcake Vineyards, being the awesome company they are, did send me a consolation prize. These 3 fabulous bottles arrived at my doorstep last week. And while it’s not Aspen, being the wine lover I am, free wine is pretty freaking fabulous too. I’ll take my consolation prize and drink it all thank you very much.

Cupcake Wine

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