Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 Boston Wine Expo: My Experiences

Once again I made the journey to the Boston Wine Expo, seeking some new wines to tantalize my palate. This year, my Expo experience began Saturday morning at Dunkin Donuts, located just outside the Expo building. Before the Expo opened, I met up with several wine friends, some whom I had previously known only online. Derek, Ana, Kristin, Dale, Sharon and I met and chatted a bit, getting to know each other, talking about wine and the Expo. It made for an excellent and memorable start to the day.

With my press pass, I entered the Expo during the trade hours, when it is far quieter. This is a perfect opportunity to really talk to the wine makers and distributors about their wines, to leisurely taste their wines. You don't have to fight any crowds to access the tables. You have total freedom to check out whichever table you desire. It certainly would be good if their trade hours were extended, especially as I was unable to attend the Sunday session.

With so many wines available, probably close to 2000, there is not sufficient time to taste everything, or even a significant fraction. You must be very selective in what you taste and it is beneficial to make a game plan before you even arrive at the Expo. I had done so, deciding before hand which wines I wanted to concentrate on, but with some leeway in case I found something different that enticed me. Though the Expo gives you a list of participants before hand, the list can be somewhat ambiguous if you don't know what products a particular named distributor provides.

When I first entered the main Expo hall, I spent a little time doing a walk through of all aisles, checking for anything that might not have been specifically listed, something I did not know about. This also gave me the opportunity to check out some of the food vendors. My exploration uncovered a few treasures of which I will post about soon. I was disappointed though that I did not see any Japanese Sake available for tasting. as I had enjoyed it last year.

I chose to concentrate my efforts on Greek wine and the wines of the New York Finger Lakes. I wanted to taste some less commonly available wines, something bit different. I can find and taste wines from California, Spain, France or Italy any time. Much better to check out something I have more difficulty finding. I will be posting about the wines I tasted in detail in the near future though I can tell you I found some impressive wines, and both regions are well worth checking out.

When the public hordes descended upon the main hall, it became far more difficult to speak with the wine makers and distributors. They had much more pouring to do, as well as handling a myriad of questions. It was also tougher to get close to some of the tables because of the crowds surrounding them. So, after a time, I chose to leave the Expo as I knew I could not get any more proper work done.

I knew too that I would be attending an Expo After-Party at the Boston Wine School later that evening, meeting more of my wine friends as well as tasting some new wines. I will be posting about that party too in the near future.

So keep an eye out for all of my Expo posts during the next couple weeks.

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