Wining at the Expo

The only thing better than going to a Virginia winery to sample their wine is going to dozens of wineries all at once to sample their wine. The Virginia Wine Expo 2012 at the Richmond Convention Center made that possible. We put in a full shift of wine tasting, note taking, and bottle buying on Saturday from 12-8.
We were very strategic about it. The über-prepared J compared a map of the Expo floor to the Virginia Wine Guide. He highlighted all the vineyards that would be there that were more than a day’s trip away from us. It was brilliant: a beautifully conceived and executed assault plan that allowed us to maximize our time. (So J was very strategic about it, but I paid for gas. On the way home, anyway.)
Wineries had different approaches to the event. At some tables, we chatted with the owner-winemaker or their offspring while s/he poured and answered our questions about varieties and vintages. At other booths, detached and ignorant pourers smilingly took us through the tasting list, professing their preference for strawberry wine or Coke. It seemed like bad marketing and public relations to let the young and the clueless interact with the public on their behalfs, but then again, with a rapidly drunk public downing samples like shots, pouring at the Expo also didn’t seem like the best use of a skilled professional’s time. The only hosts that put me off were the ones that seemed unprepared without water to rinse your glass or a pot to spit in. If they expected me to thoughtlessly toss it back, I did them the favor of expecting not to like it.
The literature we’d read from the Expo hosts outlined the dress code (“smart chic”) and also iterated that “spitting is encouraged”. I didn’t think I could muster a inconspicuous emission, so I settled for drinking only whites at some places and skipping others altogether in an effort to maintain my dignity. Not everyone was concerned about dignity maintenance.
We also sat in on a seminar called Why Virginia? The State of Virginia Wine. Three o’clock had rolled around before I was ready for it and J had to herd my slightly coherent self into the lecture room. Overall, it was about as useful as a seminar in a room full of drunks could be. I kept telling J that college would have been much better if I had spent more of it drunk, and if some of my professors had opted to liberally fill our glasses during topic transitions. I’ve got a very good sense of humor when I’m drunk.
By the time the lecture was finished, I was at the point where I wanted extra credit for remembering to zip up my pants after going to the bathroom. I thought it would be funny to take some pictures of the notes we were writing to each other in class, but at second-glance, what isn’t illegible isn’t fit for the public. Let’s skip that.

I was looking forward to getting back to the hotel and resting my liver, not realizing that we were invested to stay until eight o’clock. After a pulled pork sandwich and some snide comments from our tablemates about my boyfriend’s cigarette break, we got back in the ring, albeit with a slightly less firm grip on our credit cards.

We made it out—alive, but disoriented—with four bottles of wine, a t-shirt, and two posters. And even though they were later pooh-poohed by wine shop owner (because after buying four bottles of wine what you need to do is buy four more bottles of wine), my handmade wine slings kept our glasses safe, unlike the glasses of people who did not have handmade wine slings.

Don’t you wish your wineglass was slung like mine?
In case you’re interested, we got

  • Very WellHung Chardonnay, 
  • a white Pinot Noir from Gabriele Rausse, 
  • a port from Horton, and 
  • La Belle Vie from Potomac Point. 

The t-shirt and the posters were also from WellHung, because you gotta love a label that looks like this:

Indeed.

Do you drink any local wines? Did you wine this weekend? What’s your favorite wine? 

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