Going to a prestigious wine tasting program is educational and great fun. But since the experience can be overwhelming, and the tickets pricey, you want to get the most out of attending a high-end wine tasting event.
Doug and I recently had the opportunity to attend the Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour, a high-end wine tasting event that featured more than 220 wines from some of the most esteemed wine-producing regions around the world. We picked up some tidbits about how to get the most out of attending a high-end wine tasting event that we’d like to share.
1. Conduct Advance Research
Don’t wait until you arrive to determine which winery booths you wish to visit. We went to the event’s website ahead of time to see which wineries would be participating and familiarize ourselves with the floor plan. This way we had a better understanding of the event itself and could prioritize a few wines we really wanted to taste. We could hit the ground running when we arrived and got more out of the event this way.
2. Have a Plan to Experience the Event
Some people like to sample wines from favorite wineries, focus on certain countries, or compare varietals, which were conveniently located near each other. Doug and I opted to treat the event like an actual wine tasting at a winery. We started with some white and sparkling wines, then progressed to various red wines, and ended by trying a few dessert wines. This gave us a great overview of the event and still enabled us to wander and sample.
3. Target Wines or Wineries That Are Not Always Accessible
One attendee we were chatting with told us that he focused on the wines listed in our tasting guide that were the most expensive and went to those booths first. While there are certainly many great wines that are reasonably priced, he had a valid point, since less common, expensive wines can be harder to sample and purchase. We pivoted a bit to avail ourselves of some of the more expensive wines available, such as the E. Guigal Cote-Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis 2017, listed at $175 a bottle, and the Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Vintage Selection 2018, listed at $125 a bottle.
4. Talk to the People Serving the Wine
Many of the people pouring the samples were the owners or winemakers of the winery and eager to educate people about their products. Some of them even brought maps and other educational materials. We learned a lot more this way about the wine we were drinking, and I’m now more inclined to purchase some of those that I wasn’t familiar with previously.
5. Try Wines New to You
One of the best reasons to attend a high-end wine tasting event is to be exposed to wines and wineries that may be harder for you to visit. While a number of our favorite wineries were participating, we concentrated more on wine regions that we don’t get to as often or wines we have never sampled, such as MollyDooker Wines from McLaren Vale in Australia (the term MollyDooker means lefthanded in Aussie).
6. Understand That You Won’t be Able to Taste Everything
Don’t even try. With more than 220 wines being offered, it would have been virtually impossible to keep track of them all. I only sampled about 50 of them, and even with my note-taking and ample use of the spittoons they began to blend together. We’ll just have to return next year!
We hope that what we learned about how to get the most out of attending a high-end wine tasting event helps you plan your experiences. If you have additional advice, please share! Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always feel free to reach out to us with any questions or feedback.
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