5 Top Sporting Events Around the World To Pair With a Glass of Wine
Some occasions are better than others for popping a bottle of champagne. We are talking about spectacular sporting events that call for unabashed revelry and hearty drinks. From Madrid to Monza to Cape Town, we scoured the world for the best happenings where you get the perfect excuse to indulge in your favorite blend. Here are our top five picks.
Football may be the most popular game played in the UK, but cricket is its national sport. First gaining popularity in the 16th century, cricket has become one of the UK’s best-loved events, with approximately 65 percent of the population following season matches. Presently, the UK has 18 professional country clubs named after historic English counties and one Welsh county.
Undoubtedly, you will have the best cricket experience at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. After all, this two-hundred-year-old venue is known as the Home of Cricket. Apart from housing one of the world’s oldest sporting museums, Lord’s is also the only international cricket ground that allows spectators to bring in alcohol. Yes, you may take one bottle of wine or champagne to the venue, as long as it doesn’t exceed 750 ml.
If you prefer, you can pick your choice of drink from the in-house bars at Lord’s. The Great Wine Bar in the ground level of the Warner Stand features gluggable new age wines from unconventional wine-makers and classics from French, Spanish and Italian varieties. On the other hand, Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar keeps a select collection of bubblies flowing, including the world-renowned English sparkling wine.
Grand Prix at Monza
The Italian Grand Prix happens every year at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, just outside Milan. Built in 1922 within a 688-hectare walled park, the Monza Circuit rests within a picturesque woodland. But this historic racetrack is far from quiet and tame. The circuit is known as the Temple of Speed, where race cars run at nearly 218 mph at the end of the main stretch. Here, Legendary car racing driver Michael Schumacher announced his retirement. Sebastian Vettel became the youngest driver to win an F1 Grand Prix at age 21, while Lewis Hamilton achieved the fastest average lap at 164 mph within one hour and 18 minutes.
The power, speed and rush of excitement of motorsports often call for a toast. However, alcohol is generally not permitted inside the Monza circuit, although this has not stopped brazen fans from sneaking in liquor. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through all this trouble. You can purchase Italian Grand Prix tickets to join the Champions Club at select Formula One events, where you get the chance to enjoy Italian sparkling wine from esteemed wine producer Ferrari Trento. The package also includes the best trackside views, insider access, guest appearances, and VIP hospitality.
Rugby is one of South Africa’s most popular sports, along with football and cricket. The country’s national rugby union team, the Springboks, is the current champion after defeating England in the 2019 tournament final. The sport, however, is not free from controversies, particularly racial politics. In 1992, the anti-apartheid South African Rugby Union and the white-only governing body South African Rugby Board merged to create the South African Rugby Football Union, ending years of racial discrimination.
The Cape Town Stadium is one of the best locations to watch a rugby match. This 58,309-capacity arena is the home of the franchise rugby team Stormers. The historic Currie Cup, a domestic competition that dates back to 1891, is also held there from June to October. Alcoholic beverages may only be consumed in specified areas and may not be brought in or out of the venue. You can have a drink at the Stadium Management Lounge while watching a game.
But when it comes to having a good drink, Cape Town does not disappoint. The city has plenty of bars and restaurants that broadcast rugby while you drink and dine. Check out Fireman’s Arms, with its numerous big screens showing the latest game, Yours Truly, one of the most popular local hangouts in town, and Power and Glory for its wide variety of wines and vibrant hipster scene.
The Masters in Augusta
The prestigious Masters Tournament held at the Augusta National Golf Club every first week of April has attracted golf enthusiasts worldwide since its founding in 1934. Perhaps more enthralling than watching the best golfers compete for the sought-after Green Jacket is the course’s impeccable look, with its lush pine needles, stunning azaleas, and elegant dogwoods.
The Masters has one of the most expensive tickets, with fans sometimes shelling out as much as $8000 for packages that include four nights of accommodation, course access, and other privileges. There are Masters US packages on offer and these are recommended to get the full experience. Surprisingly, the food and drinks inside the golf club are very affordable. But unless you have access to the bars in the exclusive clubhouse or invitation-only cabins, beer is the only type of alcohol you will be able to get inside the venue.
Do not fret. You can always recreate some of the food and drink pairings tournament winners had when they celebrated their victories. One of the most famous of these combinations is Tiger Wood’s cheeseburger, French fries, and strawberry shortcake washed down with Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 1995 and Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1975. Danny Willet had roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and apple crumble finished off with Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon and Aubert Richie Vineyard Chardonnay. Three-time champion Phil Mickelson celebrated with Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 and Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay 2004 along with a meal of beef brisket, steamed oysters, glazed back ribs, fried chicken and cornbread.
The Tennis Open in Madrid
Inaugurated in 2002, the Madrid Open is relatively young compared to other tennis tournaments. However, it is quickly becoming one of the biggest pro clay court competitions in the world. The Madrid Open takes place in early May at La Caja Mágica and has seen some of the biggest names in tennis, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic.
There is a law in Madrid that prohibits drinking in public, including in sports venues. However, this does not mean you cannot enjoy a glass of fruity-flavored Grenache at a luxury villa you rented after watching an exciting game of tennis. Also, try the full-bodied Syrah, which goes well with grilled meats, vegetables, and beef stew, or the smoky sweetness of Rioja, best paired with chorizo, grilled pigeon, roast pork, or aged cheese.
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