Wine Expos and festivals are the perfect event to get the most sip for your buck. You pay for the ticket and get to sample as much wine as you can at no additional cost. Events like these bring you wine that isn’t local to you and give you the opportunity to compare wine side by side. Though this might sound like something you can do at a friend’s house on Friday night, expos and festivals give you the chance to interact with vineyard employees and learn a little. Attending tasting events like these also saves you from bottle buyer’s remorse. If you don’t like it there’s never a dump bucket too far out of reach and if you do like it, all sales are handled by that nice gentleman with the ipad.
This past weekend, the VA Wine Expo was held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in conjunction with the Love Rox Half Marathon. At the event, there were 52 wineries offering tastings including James River Wine Cellars, Keswick Vineyard, and Grace Estates Winery. After being able to taste a wide variety of wine at the different booths, I’m beginning to believe Cab Franc is my favorite grape because it’s what most of the red wine I like has in common. Plus, the Cab Franc grape has an assortment of uses from blush to red blend to straight up.
Montpelier, a blush wine from James River, is a new release and it was an amazing semi-sweet find. (I took home two bottles. I already drank one and I’m trying hard to save the other). Bold Rock Hard Cider was also present at the expo, which probably has something to do with their new Premium Cider which is sold in champagne bottles. Both their Crimson Ridge Vat No.1 and Vintage Dry won medals at the Virginia Governor’s Cup
Although will call lost some of the orders, the expo was very exciting. Unfortunately, or fortunately in my opinion, due to closures and shipping issues from a recent snow storm, there were no engravings on the Riedel wine glasses that came with the Walk-Around Grand Tasting Ticket. This was great for me because I took home 5 glasses and now have almost a complete set.
Speaking of the gorgeous Riedel wine glasses, my favorite and least favorite part of the day, was that every time a wine glass met its maker against the concrete convention center floor everyone cheered. I started the day with the belief that the necklaces for wine glasses were unbelievably dorky. I pretty much consider them to be the fanny pack of wine festivals. However, if it stops you from dropping your glass and having a convention full of people cheer at your misfortune, they might be worth the goofy look and $5 investment. I think I can understand this pain because one intoxicated girl dropped her glass and tried to blame it on me. Besides the fact that there was 4 feet and a table between us, it was the second glass she had dropped.
As at any expo or festival, there were free samples, tastings, and everything wine related under the sun for sale. A major hit were the boxers from Well Hung Vineyard. Though I didn’t get a chance to purchase them (because I was with my parents on Sunday at the expo), I know that I will run into these vendors all summer long at festivals if I feel like I have missed out. As for the other vendors, I believe that as I move away from drinking Barefoot Pink Moscato that I’m also outgrowing painted wine glasses. Similarly, I feel as if there’s no need for a dishcloth that reads “Drink Up, Bitch” in my life. I don’t need inanimate objects to tell me what to do.
I arrived at the expo Friday night to help set up the Trump Winery tables, and my roommate came down the next day to help pour. We both ran the Love Rox Half Marathon the next day. Signing up to run 13.1 miles after spending two days in heels on a concrete floor was probably the worst decision I have ever made. However, we survived and rewarded ourselves with wine, which was probably the best incentive to get me to cross the finish line.