Updated Sunday evening by a weary and exhilarated participant:
What America's Cup? The big international event in the Napa Valley this weekend was a determined effort by a group of St. Helena nonprofits to wrest a Guinness World Record from Guangzhou, China.
They—I should say, "we," for I was an invited participant in the Napa Valley Wine Wave—achieved a resounding success, shredding the 2011 Chinese record for the most people taking part in a single "rolling" wine toast.
The Chinese had assembled 321 people to set the first wine-toasting Guinness mark. The Napa Valley Wine Wave gathered a toast line of 487 people on the grounds of Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, where Guinness Book of World Records adjudicator Johanna Hessling observed every clink and sip along the way.
"The entire Toast must be completed without interruption or mistakes," according to the rules: A single slip-up, one missed sip, would have forced the Wine Wave to start again from Glass One (that of St. Helena Mayor Del Britton).
But while there were a few flirtations with disaster, everyone did his or her duty all the way to number 487.
Flown in from New York especially for the Wine Wave, Hessling presented master of ceremonies Lowell Smith, of Kiwanis Club of St. Helena, with a certificate testifying that Guinness has certified the new world record.
Produced by the Kiwanis Club of St. Helena, the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce, CHEERS! St. Helena, Main Street St. Helena and the wineries of Appellation St. Helena, the Napa Valley Wine Wave was also a fundraiser for education, with proceeds from registration fees and a silent auction benefiting a scholarship fund aimed at educating students for careers in local industries including wine, food, agriculture and hospitality.
Participants also got their share: an afternoon of wine and snacks; live music from a reggae band and recorded entertainment by a DJ; the big moment and afterward, a commemorative medallion, etched wine glass and more live music from the St. Helena Town Band.
Click the "keep me posted" button below for an update when we publish a gallery of photographs and videos from this historic event.
Find out more at http://napavalleywinewave.org/.