Started 17 years ago, The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition has become one of the largest wine competitions in the world to benefit a charitable organization. Last year, 3,824 wines, from 916 wineries, representing 50 states, 24 countries, and 6 Canadian Provinces were entered.
Each year, there is an esteemed panel of judges—they are Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, wine educators, wine journalists, winemakers, and other top internationally certified wine judges. The judges evaluate and award thousands of wines from around the world, all in three days of blind analysis and competition. All of the wines are presented blind to the judges’ panel in Riedel stemware with only the grape or blend identified. No indication of geography, vintage, or price point is shared, ensuring totally unbiased evaluation given to each wine.
The competition, along with the Camp Good Days’ Wine Auction Dinner is the largest fundraiser to benefit Camp Good Days. This competition helps to provide the funds necessary to allow Camp Good Days’ Founder, Gary Mervis, to keep the promise that he made when he started Camp Good Days 38 years ago; that all of the programs and services provided by Camp Good Days would be provided free of charge to the participants.
In 1979, the youngest of Gary’s three children, Elizabeth, “Teddi,” Mervis, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at age 9. During all of her treatments she received, what upset her most was that she was felt she was alienated from her friends—she knew no one else who now looked like her. As Gary witnessed his child struggle, he decided to give her a place where she would be welcomed and feel just like everyone else. Thus was born Camp Good Days—a place where children with cancer are not faced with boundaries, but rather open hearts, compassion and fun. Camp Good Days is a place where children affected by cancer can be around other children who know exactly what it is like to be them.
Teddi lost her battle in 1982 but Camp Good Days continues its mission as a legacy to her and all the children who have braved the fight against cancer. With the summer camping sessions and year-round programming and support, Camp Good Days hopes to give back at least a little bit of the childhood that cancer has taken away.
This year, Camp Good Days is celebrating its 38th anniversary. Since its inception, it has served more than 47,000 campers from 22 states and 34 countries—a feat only made possible through the generosity of so many people and organizations, and the special fundraising events that benefit Camp Good Days, like the FLIWC.
The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is more than just a competition; it is an event that helps to bring people with common interests together from around the world, and it helps to keep the legacy of Teddi Mervis and all children who have braved the fight against cancer alive through Camp Good Days & Special Times.