Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Festival Center Wine-Tasting Seminar

Trip report time! I'll be covering my November 2016 trip. You can read all posts in the trip report here. Onward!

Tomorrow's Thanksgiving, so I think - for a wide variety of reasons - now would be an excellent time to talk about wine.

This year I attended the Food & Wine Festival for the third time, but this wine seminar is the first upcharge activity I've attended, purchased on a whim for $15 to keep me occupied on my solo journey.


I lined up about half an hour in advance of the seminar and wound up in the very front row (they do ask you to move all the way down the table, so if being in the middle is important to you, let a few people skip ahead). The event was sold out, so a) make reservations early and b) arrive at the staging area in advance if you want a good view.

Three wine samples were already poured at each place, and crackers, water, and a note card and pencil were provided for pallet-cleansing and note-taking, respectively.


I was less concerned about what wine or winery I tried and more about time of the event when reserving; in the crapshoot, I came up with a winery known as Tasca. The event was hosted by a PR guy from Tasca, who along with a host toasted our session before diving into the history of the company.


Tasca hails from Sicily ("What's the first thing you think of when you think of Sicily? Probably the heat," said the PR guy. "Sophia from the Golden Girls," said the girl next to me, and I thought that was a much better answer). The wines are made by a noble family, but the Tasca guy repeatedly hammered home that these are farmers who get in their and do the work themselves. He even used the phrase "blue collar" to describe them, but I'm not sure that term applies if you can call yourself a count and own a huge estate. Nevertheless.

PR Man ran through what looked to be a PowerPoint presentation on the various wines, but it boiled down to this: one white, two reds. The white was light and crisp and not too sweet and I enjoyed it immensely. Both reds were duds as far as I was concerned. The first was okay but the second was like drinking an oak tree that had been liquified and mixed with red wine. I know some people dig tasting the cask but it's not my jam.

The whole experience took, I don't know, maybe 45 minutes? It was interesting and enjoyable and I certainly liked trying new wines, but I didn't like how the whole thing felt like a PR pitch. I suppose that's to be expected, since each seminar is hosted by a specific winery, but I think I'd like it more if, say, a sommelier came and said "here are three wines I like and why." Something a little more personal, a little less marketing-speak.

For $15, though, it's one of the cheapest events on offer at the Food & Wine Festival, and all the water crackers you can eat! I doubt I'd pay a whole lot more for the experience, but if the price stayed reasonably steady I'd do it again.

Have you attended any Festival Center seminars? What did you think?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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