Preview: 20th Annual Boston Wine Expo

Friday, January 21, 2011

This weekend brings us a highly anticipated annual event - the Boston Wine Expo.  I understand it's the largest event of its kind with thousands of wine enthusiasts descending upon the Seaport World Trade Center for a chance to taste through hundreds of wines.

The first couple of times I went to the Expo I thought I'd map out a list of specific wines I wanted to taste.  Although I identified a few favorites and was able to taste them, that game plan went out the window about as fast as a strategy on Top Chef.  That is to say the strategy didn't last very long. I had a game plan and after hitting a couple of them I went into survival mode and sought out tables with short lines and headed out when the crowds got too dense.

A few strategies that play well in any event like this:
  1. Plan your dinner reservations ahead of time (here's an option nearby the Expo)
  2. Arrive with a full stomach
  3. Spit as many wines as you can bear
  4. Spend time talking to winemakers
  5. Take time out for one of the free Celebrity Chef demos (schedule here)
  6. Nominate a designated driver, take mass transit, or hire a ride home
Looking through the list of vendors pouring their wines, it's a combination of regional groups, parent companies and wineries.  It's kind of tough to identify a specific wine label you want to try and seek it out.  Instead, focus on 2 or 3 regions you'd like to explore.

One thing I liked about The Wine Riot was their mobile application that lets you rate wines via your cell phone and see what wines are popular with other attendees.  Great news on this front: The Boston Wine Expo is leveraging the same exact technology from the company that puts on Wine Riot.  When you're at the event (or prior so you can register via your full-sized keyboard) point your browser to:

One thing I didn't like about past Expos is the lack of substantial food.  After a while you were scavenging around trying to make a meal out of chocolate bar fragments and gourmet cheese samples.  Good news: Looks like they've improved that dramatically!  Here's a list of restaurants that will be dishing out free samples.

If you've got tickets to the Grand Cru Lounge, be sure to check out The Original and Authentic Wine Tasting Cookie.  You've heard of wine tasting crackers but have you heard of wine tasting cookies?  The cookies provide a delicious way to cleanse the palate between wines you're tasting.  The Wellesley-based company is launching at the Expo and sampling their cookies in the Grand Cru lounge.  I'll be doing a full story on them next week but for now, especially if you're a retailer and would like to carry them in your store, check 'em out:

Looking forward to seeing you there.  I'm planning to attend during media hours tomorrow morning and at the Grand Cru Lounge Sunday afternoon.


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