In 2003, I was working down the street from the Cincinnati Convention Center. At lunchtime on a Friday, I wandered by and learned about the Cincinnati Int’l Wine Festival. I ran in and bought tickets for that evening, having no idea what to expect.
The first thing we found that year was the non-wines, the liquers, outside of the festival main hall. That was fun and a nice alternative later in the evening. We were blown away by the size of the hall, and the festival, that first year. We saw a lot of Australian wines with cute animal labels that year, and I spent a lot of time getting refills in the White Star line.
We skipped 2004 due to cost. Which leads us to 2005.
After having been blown away by our first attendance in 2003, 2005 was sort of a letdown. The Convention Center was under construction and they shoved the Festival into what seemed like a very tiny room. A very tiny room that was filled to capacity, plus some. It was so hot – there was more than once when I had to wander outside and just sit down, to recover from the crowds and the heat. Due to the size of the room, we weren’t able to really converse with the winery representatives. There was pressure to get your pour and get out of the way. The value this year wasn’t as great for the money. It was difficult to get to the tables and you didn’t get to learn from discussion. There was a definite lacking in food – and lacking in a place for the organizers to put the food. They even ran out of water.
I’m looking forward to 2006, when the convention center will have completed the renovations and the wine festival can return to breathing space and conversations.
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