Boston Wine Expo and then the next weekend I journeyed to the Mohegan Sun Wine Fest. It is only natural to compare the two events, noting that they share some similarities but also possess numerous differences. If I had to choose to attend only one of the events, I would select the Mohegan Sun Wine Fest, though it still has room for improvement.
First, if you compare the venues, the Mohegan Sun offers far more than the Seaport World Trade Center, including more restaurants, a casino, shopping, and much more, especially if you stay over night. All of this is self-contained within the venue, so you can just park and then have access to these places. Thus, a trip to the Mohegan Expo becomes more of a day-long experience rather than an afternoon interlude like at the Boston Expo. The Seaport is obviously much closer for Boston area residents, but Mohegan Sun is only about two hours away, though I strongly advise staying there over night if you attend the wine tasting so that you don't drink and drive.
Both events also have Elite Cru/Grand Cru events, and Mohegan's is more expensive at $200 compared to Boston's $175, plus Mohegan's event only lasts two hours while the Boston one runs for four hours. I did not attend the Mohegan Elite Cru this year, but did last year, and found it to offer a better selection of wines than the usual Boston Grand Cru lounge. But it would be a better value if the Elite Cru lasted longer than two hours.
But, Mohegan offers more than just wine, providing samples of spirits (often in cocktails), beer, and hard cider. In fact, Mohegan dedicated an entire floor to rooms showcasing beer, hard cider and malt beverages (though no mead). The beer floor is also a bit louder and rowdier than the wine exhibit hall, maybe just the difference between wine lovers and beer lovers. I like this diversity, especially for a two-day event, as it provides a break from wine tasting, a chance to refresh your palate with different beverages. Both Grand Tasting events are equally crowded on Saturday, while Sundays are a bit less crowded.
Mohegan really shines though with some of the extra events it holds during the weekend, from the Friday evening Bourbon Tasting to the Sunday evening Bubbles & Bon Bons. These are more intimate events, far less crowded, and can offer much excellent food and drink. For example, at the Celebrity Chef Dine Around, you can watch the chefs preferring a signature dish, sample their offering and drink a wine that has been selected to pair with the food. In addition, there are two special events held during the Grand Tastings, including a Grape Stomp and Oyster Shucking Contest, and those are free to attend with the cost of your Grand Tasting ticket. That provides added value to their Grand Tasting event.
This week, you can look forward to a series of posts about my most interesting finds from the Mohegan Sun Wine Fest, from Pinot Noir to Scotch, from Hard Cider to Beer.
(Please be advised that I received a media pass and guest room for Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Wine Fest, while I won passes and a guest room for Sunday through a Twitter contest.)