6 tips to get the most of out your wine festival experience
Photo courtesy colink/Flickr
Who doesn’t like a wine and food show? You get to wander around, taste great drinks, enjoy yummy food and it’s an excellent night out with friends or a significant other. Whether it’s Winefest, Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival, Co-op’s Grape Escape, or even a smaller show or fundraising evening, there are a few ways to get the most out of your experience.
DO – Have a plan
You will minimize your enjoyment of the show if you just start drinking willy-nilly. In a perfect world you would start with white wines, then red, then sweeter wines, to help delay palate fatigue. Try to work your way around the room trying white wines, and then moving to-and sticking with, red wines. First of all you don’t want to taste everything, but with most shows, you should be able to make it at least twice around the room to scout out brands or products to try.
DON’T – Drink too much
These aren’t the places to get smashed. Most people paid good money to come to the show and they didn’t come to watch you hover over a garbage can or stagger around the room taking selfies. If you are just out to fill your gullet and make a fool of yourself, go somewhere else. That said, wine and food shows can be a nice place to enjoy a tipple or two with friends in a safe, well-lit environment that you can actually still have a conversation with your friends in. Take a cab or have a designated driver on hand to be a super-duper festival goer.
DO – Hold off on the perfume
Either you spent a lot of money on your chosen scent and should use it sparingly, or you didn’t and it shouldn’t be shared with the world. Please, hold off on the stronger scents at any tasting event. Personally, I think perfume is an intimate thing and should only be hinted at when closer than arm’s length. In general, the more formal the wine tasting, the less cologne or perfume you should wear. A sit down tasting-none atall. Outdoors drinking around the fire pit-go nuts.
DON’T – Monopolize the booth
We’ve all seen people, glass in hand with the urge to raise their glass to the sky with profound revelations to share with their admiring entourage (or some dude with his embarrassed wife by his side). Let the person pour your sample (they know how much to pour you), give it a quick look, give it a quick sniff, taste, spit or drink — your call, and if you’d like to, discuss your perceptions with the people at the booth. If it is busy, you may have to step back to allow other people to taste and you can discuss the wine with your friends privately.
DO – Go Early
If you are of a more serious bent for sampling, consider being there when the doors open rather than later. A great tip is to go early on Friday or Saturday, enjoy the show for a few hours and then head out for a nice dinner or head home to relieve the babysitter.
DO – Ask questions
The fine folks at the booths are there to answer questions and help you find something you might like. They don’t bite, and there are no stupid questions in wine. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have a style of wine you like, and anything else you might want to know. By the same token, they might not have any Malbecs or other wines you like, but they may try to suggest something else along the same lines.