The Cincinnati International Wine Festival is upon us for the 23rd year! This Friday and Saturday, the grand tasting will be held at the convention center in downtown Cincinnati.
I will be posting as early as I can on Friday afternoon the highlights from the afternoon tasting, especially the surprises that I find. Every year my goal is to find something unexpected, unusual, or interesting. With 133 booths and a few hundred wines, I have never failed in this goal.
Tickets are still available for both Friday and Saturday nights and the list of wines seems both extensive and exciting. While it always nice to see a few favorite importers like Terry Theise(booth 11), Vintner Select(booth 14), Cutting Edge Selections(booth 32 thru 34) and many wineries from years past, for different reasons: Charles Smith/K Vinters (booth 4) from my wine bloggers conference in Walla Walla), Cline Cellars(booth 51) my first wine club, Henke Winery (booth 125) for teaching me that Norton can have a level of depth and quality, Veleta Wines (booth 56) for helping me learn that the story behind the wine helps to explain the taste, JAQK Cellars (booth 98) for beign able to highlight how different approaches to the a grape can have a very different taste in the bottle, and there is also a place for Bully Hill (booth 39) which was my first every winery experience in the Finger Lakes. I think that is some of the power of the taste of wine is that is can transport us back to a different time and place where we first got caught up in trying to learn as much as we could.
I’m also excited to try a few new things this year, a 2011 Chilean Pedro Ximenez (booth 2), Sivas Sonoma (booth 21) a new winery for me, the Italian selections from Dalla Terra (booth 48), hoping there might be a bottle of Pinot Meunier somewhere at a booth.
Beyond just my excitement, we always like to publish a few ways to get the most out of the overall experience. Here is our annual post of tips and tricks compiled from our and other blogger’s experiences on how to best survive this festival:
Please realize that these tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered. If insanely drunk is your goal, well … get a cab and/or a hotel.
So in no particular order, here are our tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:
It’s that time of year again when the leaves fall off the trees, the weather hits a surprising cold snap, plans are made for the upcoming holiday season, and the LLS kicks off the season with their Taste of the World event. This has been one of the events that I have looked forward to and attended over the past few years.
It is now up to the 9th annual version located at the Newport Aquarium. This year they have continued the Top Shelf room for anyone who might be interested in a few higher end offerings. The participating restaurants run from BBQ to seafood, with a list being found on the LLS site.
Last year, I helped to pour both at the Party Source spirits table, featuring a selection of mescals, private barrel bourbons, and a rum. The Top Shelf area had a scotch selection that was similarly fantastic. I’m not sure exactly what the non-wine offerings will be this year, but the Praty Source team does a great job of making sure there options for everyone.
Both the food and spirits are in addition to the wine and beer options that are available. The exact list is a closely kept secret, but I have never been disappointed with the selections.
This is the first year that I am a committee member for this event and I encourage everyone who attends to let me know about your experience.
Date: November 10th, 2012
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Newport Aquarium
General Admission Tickets are $100
Top Shelf Tickets are $150
All proceeds go to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 513.698.2457.
Looking for something to do this Saturday night in the greater Cincinnati Area? Why not come down to the Purple People Bridge on the Newport, KY side and come to the Wine Over Water wine tasting on the bridge with Hors D’oeuvres and live music. Wineries include: Stonebrook Winery, Horseshoe Bend Winery, Redman’s Farm Winery, Smith-Berry Winery, and Little KY River Winery. See ya down there!
Once upon a time, Valley Vineyards in Morrow had a heck of a wine festival each spring. I have friends who would rent an RV and camp there. But 4 years ago, they cancelled the festival. (Has it really been that long?)
According to Mark Fisher at the Dayton Daily News, the festival is returning on Saturday, June 4, 11 am – 11 pm.
The event will celebrate 41 years of winemaking at Valley Vineyards, and will feature oferings from food producers and restaurants such as Wildflower Cafe of Mason and The Jam and Jelly Lady of Lebanon. The festival also will include the winery’s annual “Walk-Run Through the Vineyards,” which this year will benefit a Hamilton Twp. “Shop With A Cop” program, according to the winery’s web site. Live music and hot-air balloon rides also will be offered.
This year they’ve modified the festival format, most notably limiting it to one day and there will be no camping or overnight parking. I know what you’re thinking – they’ve killed the party. Well, it’s a wine festival people, not a campground. And if you suspect you’ll be overindulging, you can stay at the Spring Hill Suites Cincinnati Northeast, which will be offering a free shuttle to and from the festival.
Visit the Valley Vineyards web site for more information.
It’s Derby season and as many of you know, I love the Kentucky Derby. While Derby itself isn’t until May (have you picked out your hat yet?), Woodford is already promoting their $1000 Mint Julep Cup.
You can now purchase this gorgeous Mint Julep cup online, made by my favorite jeweler, Tiffany’s. They even come with a sterling silver straw to sip that julep. Cups are first come, first serve to the first 103 people (there have been 103 Derby winners born in Kentucky) to, um, pony up that $1000. Cups come in a Tiffany blue box, of course, and are set in a Woodford Reserve casing made from the same wood as Woodford Reserve barrels. All proceeds from sales of the Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Cup benefit The Heart of a Horse Foundation and you can pick up your cup at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.
Once you have that cup in hand, you can get your mint julep. Since you’ve paid $1000 for the cup, you might as well have the most exotic mint julep in the commonwealth.
– Bourbon Smoked Sugar from Bourbon Barrel Foods in Louisville, KY represents the union of flavors that result when Woodford Reserve barrels are combined with raw Demerara sugar. The bourbon-soaked barrel staves are utilized during the smoking process to impart a sweet, caramel flavor and the essence of smoked oak.
– Rare Chocolate Mint grown in San Diego, California. This unique mint adds a tantalizing touch of spring freshness to the classic Mint Julep.
– Ice made of rainwater captured on the pristine island of Tasmania, Australia, where the air is scientifically proven to be the purest in the world. The air travels over Antarctica and 10,000 miles of ocean reaching the western part of Tasmania called “The Edge of the World” where it is collected without ever touching the ground.
So go ahead and try to be one of those 103 lucky people. I will probably be at home on my couch, wearing a fancy hat and cheering on my favorite horse, drinking a mint julep made from Kentucky ice.
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