Swirl, Sip, Flirt, Repeat. (Or, The NY Wine Expo)

I fairly waltzed into the New York Wine Expo’s Grand Tasting event last Friday thanks to 1WineDude(one of my favorite wine bloggers), whose discount tickets promo prompted me to find a cheaper way through the door to what’s arguably NYC’s biggest wine evert. Highly coveted tickets are normally $90 (Insert gasp here) though luckily for the unemployed or homeless among us, the Expo offers free tickets to anyone who also volunteers during the 3-day drink-fest. Hello, Laura (AKA the wine-swirling, hand-stamping rockstar of Saturday March 3).

This was my first experience at a huge tasting event, where the volume of wine was almost as daunting as the drunk Jersey girls who surrounded me. Determined to learn and remember the event (and maybe even network relatively sober) I did my best, token Aussie friend in tow, as I tasted my way around the world.

Thank God nobody expected me to swallow every taste–Over 150 wineries were present, and most doled out anywhere from six to ten varieties to happy hour goers  wine lovers.  Organized by country, a few regions surprised and delighted me (read: I definitely drank the whole glass.)

South Africa was an absolute winner, and not just because they were pouring the same chenin blanc I’ve been hoarding on top of my fridge for the past month.  Their wines, ranging from crisp chenin blancs, to super-fruity reds displayed incredible diversity.  Surprise, surprise the former British colony has over 250,000 acres of vines (enough to cover the World Cup Stadium ten times).

When I remembered the Greeks had a GOD OF WINE, it stopped being such a surprise that Greecewas another standout last weekend. Somehow, images of Dionysus had escaped me, but after some sampling of Greek varieties I think he just may have replaced Ryan Gosling as my most desired man.  Whites from Santorini stood out most, being refreshing and crisp but earthy as well–Like a hippie who showers daily.


Last, but certainly not least, New Jersey.  Yes, I meant to say that.  Real Housewife Teresa and I hit it off (DUH), but mostly because I understand the need for a makeup artist at a wine tasting–who wants to apply their own lipgloss after all?  While her antics and lack of forehead were fascinating, this wine was like Arbor Mist with bubbles (read: don’t leave it around for your teenage kids to steal).

For most people, the Expo experience would have happily ended at this point, with Fabellini bubbles floating in their brains, and suddenly craving White Castle.  This girl, however, had six hours of hand-stamping duty to endure on Saturday.

Thoroughly unamused by my stamping peers who kept touting things like, “Welllll, I do know a few things about wine,” and, “At the DC Expo–oh yes, I adore wine shows” I did what every smart woman would do in my situation: flirt with the security guards.

Not only did this tactic make me some new friends (shout out to Sean and my NYPD boyz), but I walked out of the Expo with a whole bag of VIP stuff (read: corkscrews), and in some remote NYC break-room there’s a photo strip of me modeling NYPD jackets and bulletproof vests. Win.

Swirl, Sip, Flirt, Repeat. Can’t wait ‘til 2013.


The NY Wine Expo Uncorked:

Laura Loves: Indaba Chenin Blanc 2011–smells like flowers, and tastes like spring on a farm.

Tips for Tastings: 

  1. Don’t feel compelled to tasteeverything.
  2. Don’t start your low-carb diet on tasting day.
  3. Don’t dress like a hoochie.
  4. Skip out on gum before the event.
  5. Do feel free to ask “stupid” questions, you’re not alone.

And this guy’s tips are great too.

Beware: If you attend a tasting of scale, it’s likely some rowdy wine-o’s who took girls’ night out in public will be getting kicked out. Be on the lookout for crazies.

More to come on Grecian Delights and my faves from South Africa–once I make it through the pile of wine literature currently scattered across my living room.

  • March 7, 2012
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