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Oyster Eater's Bill of Rights

Served in a casual, convivial atmosphere by a knowledgeable staff.

Expertly shucked and presented traditionally on an iced platter within five minutes of opening.

Presented with a selection of oyster-friendly wines and ales.

Harvested in their season from certified clean waters.

Laboratory tested.

Named on the menu by species and growing location.

Received directly from farms that are interstate-certified shellfish shippers.

Documented by tags indicating harvest location and date (available by request).

Valued as an important part of the history and culture of this saloon.

Oyster Riot

Old Ebbitt Grill's Oyster Riot® is one of the greatest parties of the year in Washington DC. Always held the Friday & Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Riot is DC's preeminent food & wine event. Each night, nearly 1000 people devour tens of thousands of oysters while enjoying the gold medal winners of the International Wines for Oysters Competition and grooving to some awesome tunes.

International Wines for Oysters Competition

Old Ebbitt Grill International Wines for Oysters Competition was inspired by the Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, organized over twenty years ago by seafood consultant Jon Rowley in Seattle. Mr. Rowley compared his competition to “a dating service for wines and oysters.” As far as can be determined, these two competitions are the only ones in the world in which wines are judged with oysters. In 1995, Tom Meyer, Clyde’s President, sent David Moran, Area Director of Operations, out to Seattle to be a judge in Mr. Rowley’s competition and immerse himself in Seattle’s oyster culture. Upon his return, David told Tom he would like to replicate an East Coast version of the competition on a larger scale at the Ebbitt. Tom replied, “Why don’t we just throw a great party with oysters and wine, that’s what we’re good at.” Over a few dozen oysters and a few glasses of Chablis, the International Wines for Oysters Competition and the Oyster Riot® were born! We are eternally grateful to Michael Franz, wine writer, educator, consultant and editor of Wine Review Online, and Paul Lukacs, award-winning author, educator, wine writer, and consultant, for their guidance and palates throughout the years to bring the Competition from its infancy to the celebration it is today.

2018 Results

On November 5, 2018, the eve of Election Day, a panel of judges convened in the Cabinet Room at Old Ebbitt Grill for the final round of the Old Ebbitt Grill International Wines for Oysters Competition. Their task was to select gold medal winners from among twenty finalists. The remaining wines earned silver medals, while the bronze medal winners were chosen during the semi-final round a week earlier.

An impressive 196 wines from all over the world were entered in this year’s Competition. Within the United States, 80 wines were submitted from four states (California, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington). Wineries from eleven other countries entered a total of 116 wines— Argentina, Australia, Austria, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. In addition to the Oyster Bar at Old Ebbitt Grill, Clyde’s Restaurant Group has Oyster Bars at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, Mark Center, Tower Oaks Lodge and Chevy Chase. The Grand Champion will be served at these five locations during the coming year.

The winning wines were celebrated at the 24th Annual Oyster Riot® featuring unlimited oysters and wine. Held in Old Ebbitt Grill's expansive atrium on Friday, November 16th and Saturday, November 17th, 2017, the cocktail-style party features live music from headlining band Mudcat at the evening Riots and The Bad Influence Band at the Saturday matinee. 

Our Distinguished Panel of Judges:

Kyle Bailey (The Salt Line), David Del Bene (Clyde’s of Georgetown), Bill Butcher (Port City Brewing Co.), Bart Farrell (Clyde’s Restaurant Group), Michael Franz (wine writer & consultant), Philip Greene (author), Panos Kakaviatos (author), Paul Lukacs (wine writer & consultant), David Moran (Clyde’s Restaurant Group), Anna Spiegel (Washingtonian), Sally Swift (The Splendid Table), Marguerite Thomas (wine writer), Andrew Wright (The Inn at Little Washington), Tom Yannucci (Kirkland & Ellis)

2018 Winners

Grand Champion
Sauvignon Blanc, Vavasour, Marlborough, NZ, 2017

First Runner-Up
Sauvignon Blanc, “Private Bin,” Villa Maria Estates, Marlborough, NZ, 2017
Old Ebbitt Grill · 675 15th Street NW · Washington, DC ·20005 · 202.347.4801 ·

Best Sparkling
Chardonnay, Brut Cuvee, Chateau St. Jean, California, NV

Best American
Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, CA, 2017

Best French
Cremant de Bourgogne, L’Etre Magique, Maison de Grand Esprit, France, NV

Best Italian
Pinot Grigio/Sauvignon Blanc blend, “Dué Uvé,” Bertani, Veneto, Italy, 2017

Best Spanish
Albariño, Pazo Cilleiro, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2017

Gold Medal
Sauvignon Blanc, Goldwater, Wairau Valley, NZ, 2017
Sauvignon Blanc, Huntaway, Marlborough, NZ, 2017
Sauvignon Blanc, Matua, Marlborough, NZ, 2017