With Thanksgiving in a week, and the Christmas holidays around the corner, my mind is wandering to the new year, and which of the many major wine events I will choose to attend this year. I always try to attend at least one or two new ones, and rotate between some of my favorites.
This year the one that I attended for the 1st time, was the IPNC12, which translates into the International Pinot Noir Conference held in McMinnville Oregon each year. An awesome wine event, with worldwide attendance by winery owners from Europe, Australia, South America, etc. here with their premium wines. Believe me, I will be attending this event yearly till the day I die.
Now there are two Seafood & Wine events I attend in the Pacific Northwest at least every other year. The Newport Seafood and Wine Festival
held February 21-24th here in Oregon, and the Astoria Seafood and Wine Festival, April 26-28th. Both of these events are a lot of fun, with opportunities to taste an enormous amount of wines, and enjoy some great fresh seafood , especially my favorite, crab !
No each of these festivals are alike, and not. The Astoria event is is what I would call more town organized, with school busses bringing attendees in from specific places all over town. It is pretty much a fun experience, and the April weather is not really so bad. Now when it comes to the Newport festival, things can be and usually are very different. First of all, in February the weather can be downright chilly, or just plain cold. A couple years ago when I didn’t attend, I found out from various wineries that attended, that they had quite some time keeping reds at a close to proper temp, and their spit buckets actually froze !
Another factor that can be, and usually is at the Newport event, is the amount of college folks in attendance. Now I am extremely thrilled to see the younger generations sipping on fine wines, and acquiring a taste for something other than micro-brew. However, keep in mind that colleges are actually bussing in students for this event. You probably get what I am saying when I say that highlights for this event are hearing a glass hit the floor ?
At both events there is an ever present display of the local police force, in some cases mobile units parked nearby. It goes without saying that designated drivers, public transportation, or foot traffic is the term of the day for these two events.
Don’t get me wrong, both are an experience you just need to have, just be careful, and go knowing that it will be shoulder to shoulder, and noisy. These events are not for the serious wine sipper who wants to relax, enjoy his pour while talking to the vintner or staff, in the proper environment.If that is you, then I suggest being there early before the crowds, and studying which wineries booths you wish to attend ahead of time. Then when you walk in the door, beeline to them.
Remember, these are made to be fun events, and they are, as long as you know what you are getting in to.
Clink Clink !