Not all it's cracked up to be . . .

I just got home from pouring wine at Boston Wine Expo. BWE is one of the largest wine events in the country with over 500 winery exhibitors, 19,000 attendees, and dozens of wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, etc. It's like Disneyland for the wine lover.

There's something about these mega tastings that seems like great fun to my non-wine industry friends, but let me tell you, this was no cakewalk!

First, you have to deal with the know-it-alls. These are grown ups who feel the need to impress you with their profound wine knowledge. But their ignorance is a dead giveaway the minute they ask, “Do you actually put cherries in your Cabernet?” Then, there's the slick guys trying to impress the trophy date/wife. They're always good for a laugh until they try to grab the bottle off the table and help themselves. And, last is the jerk whose glass is so chunky and wine stained by the time he's reached your table (we won't even talk about the color of his teeth), that it's a wonder he can taste (or remember) anything at all…Ugh.

  I always have the same experience at these tastings. It usually happens after the third hour. My head begins to spin, my eyes get blurry, and I lose my focus. NO, it's not because I'm imbibing in my own product. It's because I've quite literally said the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. This is usually followed by a big smile.  I actually tried to count the number of times I said the same thing this year, but lost track after 78.  Not that I'm complaining. I know full well, that it's a privilege to have the opportunity to introduce people to our wines for the first time. But with over 500 brands in one room, I often wonder if anyone notices or even cares.

Which brings me to an obvious question – do you look for your favorite wineries at these tastings or is it pretty much a free-for-all?

| | Comments (12)


dcvprguy Author Profile Page said:
February 15, 2008 9:05 AM

I can totally relate on this one! I love educating people about wine but after a long day of pouring wine and saying the same thing, you really do start to go a bit nuts. Love the artwork. Thanks for the great post!

dcvprguy Author Profile Page said:
February 15, 2008 9:12 AM

Right. I forgot to answer your question. The answer is yes. When I attend tastings of this size, I look for specifics. It is white or red today? Or is it going to be France or South America? I really try to narrow it down and go in with a game plan. Especailly if I'm trying to learn something. Otherwise, it turns into a free-for-all and I can't remember anything. I do feel like these tastings are worthwhile. I always learn something, the wines are terrific and I enjoy meeting colleagues in the industry.

cck Author Profile Page said:
February 15, 2008 10:18 AM

Not that I've ever been to an event this big, but I would definitely check out my favorite wineries first. By the way, when we spoke on the phone last Friday night, you sounded like you were pretty pooped after a full day of pouring!

bowie Author Profile Page said:
February 16, 2008 9:29 AM

smaller groups are better and more interesting. keep it simple stupid-- not
implying that you might be at all. when I do attend tastings I look for wineries that offer interesting, unusual wines.

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
February 17, 2008 9:19 AM

There's a smaller tasting in May that definitely fits the bill. Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Sonoma County Vinters will be pouring from 2:00-5:00 at The Four Seasons Hotel. Come check us out!

Enobytes Author Profile Page said:
February 18, 2008 6:32 PM

Hi Kim!

Marc & I met you at the Boston Wine Expo. Glad to see that you survived! I can see why they allow special hours for the trade. In my opinion, the event was too overcrowded after 1:00PM (after trade hours). If didn't have an opportunity to met with vintners before 1PM, it wasn't worth fighting the crowds to get to the tables!

Could you send me the details about the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Sonoma County Vinters tasting? I'd be interested in attending the event.

Pamela @ Enobytes

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
February 19, 2008 11:53 AM

Hi Pamela,
The tasting is on Thursday May 22 from 2:00-5:00 for the trade and media. It is called Sonoma In The City and will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market St. San Francisco. If you have more questions, call the Sonoma County Vintners at 707-522-5843.
If you go, stop by and say hi!

bdvgal Author Profile Page said:
February 19, 2008 4:54 PM

This is great! Just wanted to say hi and add that I LOVE the fact you're doing a blog!!! Very cool! I'm assuming you had some help from Lynda tell her great job and that I said hello!!


carols Author Profile Page said:
March 5, 2008 2:04 PM

I am a regular attendee (and volunteer) at the Taste of Vail (Colorado) and I think all the "characters" you describe have attended. At these kinds of events, I tend to visit my favorites first - it's like a visit with an old friend. Then I rely on word of mouth during the event to discover some new wines or wineries. I realize I'm probably missing golden opportunities, but I really have never had a bad time with this approach.

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
March 6, 2008 7:03 AM

Sounds like you've got the perfect system.

I remember the Taste of Vail fondly-we used to do it years ago. Wish we still could but I'm afraid there are just too many darn tastings these days!

The of Advantages said:
December 18, 2008 10:45 AM

Advantages and The

another Kim said:
March 7, 2009 2:38 PM

Being in the business,,,I Concur,,their are characters galore at consumer tastings, and I've met all the ones you mentioned, plus the ones you didn't. When I get a chance to get away from the table, I try to check out wines from regions or varietals I'm least familiar with. Always seeking more knowledge! Great Blog, by the way!

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on February 15, 2008 8:26 AM.

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