Would you like some wine with your chicken wings and mild sauce? Of course you would. Competitors from SOMM TV’s “Sparklers” share some great pairings.

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Claire Coppi and George W.C. Walker III are Chicago natives competing on SOMM TV’s “Sparklers”, a high-stakes, high-pressure competition show based on cooking and pairing great sparkling wine from around the world. The reality series brings together five of the top wine connoisseurs, along with other culinary professionals, for a 13-episode food & wine competition show that premiered recently and continues until a champion is crowned in February.  
SPARKLERS features a diverse cast of food and wine professionals who are changing the culinary world. While the show has guest judges, the main challenges are judged by the five contestants themselves, pitting friends against each other as they make tough decisions to create one of the most unique food shows you’ve ever seen and the first ever cooking and wine pairing competition show.

Some of the great pairings they put together include theses Chicago classics


Fried Chicken from Harold’s Chicken Shack/ NV Faire La Fête Crémant de Limoux Brut
Fried Chicken from Harold’s Chicken Shack / 2020 Three By Wade Chenin Blanc 
Jibaritos from Jibaritos y Mas/ 2018 Matthiasson Chardonnay ‘Michael Mara’
Hot Dogs from Gene & Jude’s/ 2019 Jean-Louis Dutraive Brouilly VV 
Italian Beef from Al’s # Italian Beef/ 2019 Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne

BBQ – Lem’s 311 E 75th St. / J.L. Chave Selection Saint-Joseph “Offerus”
Tacos – Rubi’s at the New Maxwell Street Market (only on Sundays)/ McBride Sisters Sparkling Brut Rosé
Tacos – Big Star/ McBride Sisters Sparkling Brut Rosé
Pizza- Vito & Nick’s / Felsina Berardegna Chianti Classico
Gyros- Greek Islands / Château d’Anglès “Grand Vin” La Clape
Al Pastor- Los Comales   / Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County
Carne Asada- Taqueria El Asadero / Ridge Dusi Ranch Zinfandel 

Determined to change this exclusionary culture and make wine more accessible to all, George Walker, III founded Graped Out a tasting series and educational platform, in 2020. His charisma, industry acuity and, of course, vinous expertise didn’t go unnoticed, and that same year, he was hired to be the first official employee of former pro-basketball player Dwyane Wade’s Wade Cellars, Wade Cellars where he now assists with national sales, social media and winery operations.


A CMS Certified Sommelier, WSET 3, and Certified Sherry Wine Specialist, Claire Coppi is one of the fastest rising stars in the sommelier industry. With experience at renowned Los Angeles restaurants including République and Wine Director at Sushi Note in Los Angeles, Claire is a steady and knowledgeable voice in the wine world.

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