Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Preview of the Boston Wine Expo

Though the Boston Wine Expo won't be held until mid-February 2013, I recently attended a special Blogger preview event at the Action Kitchen of the Seaport. It was my first time at the Action Kitchen and it is an excellent spot for food and wine events. Numerous wines were poured and there were several different dishes for us to snack upon. The Expo is making a concerted effort this year to reach out much more through social media as well as to work with local bloggers.

The center of the event was a speech by Jim Carmody, the Boston Seaport World Trade Center General Manager, who discussed the function of the Expo as well as referencing the changes coming next year. Near the start of his speech, he summed up the primary purpose of the Expo: commerce. As they say, it is all about the Benjamins. It is about wineries finding local distributors, distributors finding retailers and restaurants, and wineries trying to raise their brand recognition with consumer. Anyone showcasing their products at the Expo is seeking to make money, to expand their business. This is nothing new or surprising, but it was refreshing to hear.

At the Expo, there should be over 200 wineries from more than 15 countries. The Expo is upgrading the quality of their souvenir glasses and will allow for wine sales on site. The Grand Cru Lounge will include food created by local chefs and there will be a special Social Media Lounge. For added business, they will now provide small rooms where wineries and distributors or distributors and retailers can meet to discuss business.

The prior, restrictive conditions on bloggers obtaining media passes for the Expo will be loosened, though we don't know at this point exactly what changes will be made. But their goal appears to be to allow a greater number of bloggers to attend the Expo. I think it is very important for bloggers to be able to attend the trade hours of the Expo, so they can taste wines during the quieter time of the Expo, before the public descends upon the Expo. It is far more difficult to properly taste and review wines once the public enters the hall and crowds the tables.

Bloggers can help promote commerce. Their wine reviews will live on long after the Expo is over, once the public returns home from their wine tasting weekend. The reviews can be used as selling points by wineries, distributors and retailers. When the public conducts online searches, they can read about the wines and gain a sense of whether they want to buy them or not. The regular readership of these blogs look forward to such posts, to obtain recommendations. Bloggers will talk about these wines through social media channels, from Facebook to Twitter. It may not be an easily measurable area, but there is no denying bloggers can have a significant impact on commerce.

One aspect of the Expo not to forget is their charitable contributions. Since the event's inception, they have raised over $1.4 million, which was distributed by the Boston Guild of Oenophilists, Inc. to over 27 charitable entities. Always good to see such charitable contributions.

Personally, I would like to see more Sake at the Expo. It is still a rarity there, and it not available every year. The Sake category would benefit greatly from large numbers of consumers having the opportunity to taste some quality Sake. Many people would enjoy Sake, if they only took a chance to taste it. They often have misconceptions about Sake, thinking that it is always served hot, and they need to learn the truth. Thus, having chilled, premium Sake available for tasting will help distributors and retailers sell much more Sake.

More information about the Boston Wine Expo will be coming, and if I learn anything more of significance, I will be sure to update my readers.

Of the wines I tasted at the preview event, one especially stood out me and it is worthy of a strong recommendation. The 2010 Joel Gott Alakai ($24) is a California red wine blend, comprised of 77% Grenache, 17% Syrah, 4% Mourvedre, and 2% Petite Sirah. It had an alluring nose, great fruit and hints of spice and was compelling on the palate. Complex, with a delicious melange of reds fruits and spice, with hints of earthiness. It was more on the lighter side with smooth tannins and a lengthy, pleasing finish. An excellent food wine, or something you can savor on its own. Just plain delicious.

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