Held at the Miami Beach convention center, it was time to see if I could learn from the masters at tasting wine. As we waited for entry inside (they were finishing pouring wines into the eight different glasses), one gentleman answered his cellphone and said, “Hey, I am about to go into a meeting, so I may have to cut this short.” (Nice one!)

There are 168 masters worldwide, 97 of which are in North America. Of those, 81 are men and 16 are women – in attendance we had two men and two women.

The highlight of the event were wine samples No. 5 and No. 6, which once the masters announced the price per bottle the samples were quickly consumed whether participants had enjoyed the wine or not.

The first was a white wine – the Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc “La Meal” 2005 from Rhone Valley, France. Pricetag: $220. The second was a red, the Chapoutier Cote Rotie, “La Mordoree” 2005 Rhone Valley, France. Pricetag: $225. Both are in limited production, with only 200 cases made per year.

- Fred Gonzalez