A recent publicity stunt at a new liquor store in Bellevue succeeded only in wasting more than $3,000 worth of wine.
The 30,000 square-foot Total Wine & More was the setting Thursday for a sanctioned attempt to break the world record for most bottles of wine opened simultaneously. Each event attendee was given a wine bottle, a corkscrew and 30 seconds to uncork his or her bottle once the attempt was underway.
The previous record of 308 bottles was established by Bon Appetit's Vegas Uncork'd event at the Bellagio. Total Wine & More's customers opened only 301 bottles of mostly Washington wines, including 2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling and 2010 14 Hands "Hot to Trot" red blend.
In Las Vegas, event participants celebrated their world record by downing the wines they'd opened. But the Washington State Liquor Control Board prohibits liquor store customers from opening and drinking wine while shopping, so Total Wine & More was left with hundreds of bottles they couldn't legally serve, sell, store or give away. Staffers were forced to dump the liquid evidence of their defeat.
"It's safe to assume that some of the wine had to be, or will have to be, poured out," spokesperson Carly Bonora said. "Total Wine & More does do wine tastings, but likely wouldn't go through all the bottles before it goes bad."
Total Wine & More
Bonora emphasizes that the wine's fate shouldn't detract from Total Wine & More's effort to make friends in its new home: The event also included the presentation of a $10,000 check to the Bellevue Art Museum.
"The focus was on the stunt and not the product used, other than of course to feature Washington wines in the attempt," Bonora says.