I was lucky enough to pour for Wine Trends (distributor) on Saturday at the Wine Festival, and I ended up in two remarkable booths: TGIC (with all Chilean and Argentinean wines) and Epiphany / Fortress (with Santa Barbara County / Fess Parker-related wines). I had a fantastic time. Admittedly, it’s hard work, but time flies by, and I had great company in the booths.
However, being behind the table instead of in front of it, where I’d spent most of Friday, brought a couple of things to my attention. These are behaviors that I’ll change in myself, or that I was surprised to see in general. I’ll definitely be adding some of these tips to next year’s Survival Guide.
Hold your glass up and don’t tilt it sideways. Think about it - the wine will spill out. Holding it up higher makes it easier for the pourer to reach over all the bottles. Guys were better at this than gals, most likely because guys are just taller in general. Reach out with those glasses ladies!
The pourers are not bartenders. Seriously, don’t bang on a bottle with your glass expecting service. (And no, I’m not kidding.) And while we’re on the topic, say please and thank you. Just because you’re thirsty for wine, doesn’t mean that all good manners get thrown out the window. Some of the pourers are just volunteers and aren’t being paid to be there and everyone has been working hard for at least two days; in the case of winemakers, they’ve been going non-stop for nearly a week.
Try a new grape or ask for guidance. There might be something you really like, even if it’s not Merlot and Chardonnay. The two questions I heard the most on Saturday night were “Do you have any Merlot? Do you have any Chardonnay?” The answer is not always yes, and there are some really exciting grapes out there that are not merlot or chard. If you see an Alicante Bouché for example, try it – you might be surprised. Chances are, the person behind the table can tell you a little bit about the grape as well, and if you don’t like it, then dump it.
During the afternoon session, I led a lot of people to the Torrontes we were pouring when they asked for a Chardonnay. I don’t really see any similarities, but when I said “light and summery”, people went for it. Most of them loved it as well. In the evening session, I poured a lot of Merlot-seekers the award-winning wine on the table, Epiphany Revelation, which is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Petit Sirah. Almost everyone enjoyed it.
Take a minute to talk. You’ll notice special badges on some of the folks or signs hanging on their booth. Most of the time that means there is a winemaker present. No one can tell you more about their wines. Several years ago I met Milla Handley of Handley Cellars by striking up a conversation. That’s the year I fell in love with her rose. I almost always appreciate wine a little more when I get to know the person who made it.
Move out of the way. I can’t stress this enough for the evening sessions. You don’t have to leave, but get your wine and move to the side. Don’t step back two steps, you’re still blocking the three people behind you.
Don’t waste water between reds. You see, rinsing your glass is necessary occasionally. But when you’re switching between white and red, ask for a wine rinse. No one will complain. If you’re switching between the reds at the same table, you don’t need to rinse your glass between every one. Not only do you waste water, but no one ever gets all the water out of their glass. You know what that leads to? Watery wine, and you certainly don’t want that.
And finally, don’t expect your friendly wine blogger to get you free tickets. Sure, when I was working I was there free, but I paid to get in on Friday night. It’s a charity event. In fact, I believe 50% of your ticket is a tax-deduction as a charitable donation. So don’t try to get in free and skimp on those charities, okay?
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There are all sorts of things I learned while pouring at the Wine Festival this weekend, but I’ll get to those in another post this week. Right now I want to point you in the direction of a Wine Conference.
The American Wine Society (AWS) has announced the date and location of their annual conference. The 2010 conference will be right here in Cincinnati, at the downtown Hyatt, from November 11-13. This is pretty exciting, as the AWS conferences is pretty much for people who want to learn more about wine as opposed to just drinking it, if that makes sense.
AWS itself is fairly inexpensive to join – $62/year for a two-person membership. I admit I haven’t attended any of the local AWS chapter events, mainly because my schedule and theirs just doesn’t ever sync up. But if you want to attend the conference in the fall, it’s worth putting out the $62 now and keeping up with the information.
AWS hasn’t yet released costs or seminars, other than their standard WJCP. The WJCP is a three-year Wine Judge Training Program. They offer the 90-minute introductory course every year at the Conference. I suspect I’ve sat through the equivalent of this course every year when they train us for the Cincinnati competition judging.
Mark your calendars and I’ll try to keep you updated as more information is released.
It’s sort of a recovery day here at Wine-Girl. Partially because last week, starting last Tuesday, began a week of non-stop Wine Festival activities. But also because I have to take my beloved MacBook Pro into the Apple Geniuses and see if they can’t make the hardware work again.
So while my computer is taking a brief respite, I invite you to join the brand-spanking-new Facebook page. Why do I have one? Well, I have to keep up with the other bloggers in town right?
That aside, many people seem to sort of “live” in Facebook and this is an easy way to deliver all of my content to them in one location. New posts will show up in the news feed. I’m also working with a calendar program that has let me add my One-Time Tasting Events calendar into the Fan Page. (Note: You must have a Facebook account to join the Fan Page.)
So come be a fan. I’ll be sure to make you feel welcome.
If you know me, you know I cannot stand a technical error that I can fix. It came to my attention that all the random plug-in scripts and widgets on my site (powered by WordPress) have the potential to completely crash a Blackberry. Since some of my favorite people have Blackberries, I had to take care of this. Now, if you’ve got an iPhone, Android, or WebOS device, this is not an issue. You can keep using the regular site. It’s only Blackberries and some older devices that are having the problem.
I haven’t figured it all out yet, but there are the beginnings of a mobile site out there and available now. You can visit the Wine Girl Mobile Edition at http://m.wine-girl.net.
It‘s not an automatic switch – you can’t come here and expect to be taken there – so instead just bookmark it in your smartphone.
All times are in some random time zone …
6:34 pm michellelentz: Enjoying the blackstone rubrik, california. #ciwf
6:37 pm kevingerl: On the white round at #ciwf 07 broquel torrontes nice start to the afternoon light floral and crisp
6:41 pm kevingerl: Kermit lynch at booth 73 nice rose and strong lineup. #ciwf
6:42 pm michellelentz: Moving on to a nice joel gott cab sauv #ciwf
6:49 pm Joelgott: Tell us how it is! RT @michellelentz Moving on to a nice joel gott cab sauv #ciwf
7:02 pm kevingerl: Viji from Valeta their temp was a winner of one of 6 gold metals at #ciwf http://tweetphoto.com/14136926
7:03 pm michellelentz: 2009 cline mouvedre rose – quite good! #ciwf
7:03 pm michellelentz: Happy to see our friends from valeta here … And with a gold medal! #ciwf
7:04 pm michellelentz: Not surprisingly, I loved the Lazarre pinot noirs. Always sexy wines. #ciwf
7:05 pm michellelentz: Just enough oil in the Lazarre pinot blanc. Am usually not a fan of the grape .. Love being surprised. #ciwf
7:15 pm kevingerl: Another differnt wine: tariquet colombard at booth 38 nice pear and floral smell #ciwf
7:31 pm kevingerl: Burly cab booth 6 to start my red lap #ciwf fruit forward but tannins are soft and balanced http://tweetphoto.com/14139767
7:42 pm michellelentz: Happily drinking the handprint merlot from meeker #ciwf
7:43 pm michellelentz: Loved the columbard and the mas de guiot from bobby kacher selections #ciwf
7:44 pm michellelentz: If you’re coming to the wine fest, many things are listed under distributor or importer names. Don’t let it throw you. #ciwf
7:46 pm kevingerl: Robert hall hand picks the grapes fom the cluster on the orange muscat #ciwf
7:48 pm kevingerl: Orange muscat has a lot of acid to balance the sweetness.great wine for the warm room at #ciwf
8:11 pm michellelentz: Yum … gruet sparkling wine from new mexico – great palate cleanser! http://twitpic.com/185iad #ciwf
10:05 pm timlemke: Headed to Cincinnati International Wine Festival. Say hi if you see me. Look for the red velvet jacket. #ciwf
michellelentz: Round 2 #ciwf (@ Duke Energy Convention Center) http://4sq.com/c6pRN2
12:06 am michellelentz: Really enjoyed the whites at Meeker. Esp the chard for “ppl who don’t like chardonnay.” #ciwf
12:07 am kevingerl: 05 merlot and 05 four kings at meeker are once again very nice. Mosel reisling at booth 34 is also very tasty german wine. #ciwf
12:14 am kevingerl: Handmade labels on the Reynolds family cab sauv from stags leap also nice cherry flavored cab. #ciwf
12:18 am michellelentz: Highly recommend the Row 11 pinot noirs, esp the 3rd one. #ciwf
12:27 am michellelentz: Love the ppl watching at #ciwf. Its still fairly empty here too, which is sort of nice.
12:39 am michellelentz: Drinking the laurenz singing gruner veltliner. Oddly named but enjoyable. #ciwf
12:40 am CinWomenBlogger: Want to be “in the know” for the Cincinnati Wine Festival? Follow @michellelentz and #ciwf
12:56 am michellelentz: Uh oh … my claustrophobia is kicking in. So many ppl! #ciwf
1:18 am michellelentz: http://twitpic.com/187aa5 pronounced uh-lee-chay (but looks like alice). Excellent prosecco (sparkling wine) from sun wine imports #ciwf
2:43 am michellelentz: One of my evening highlights: Rich Parducci, winemaker for mcnab ridge, knew who I was! #ciwf
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