Amazing and overwhelming. Those words best describe my experience at the Boston Wine Expo on Saturday, February 9th.
My colleague and I arrived at the Expo at noon, an hour before the event is open to the public. Just having negotiated confusing travel from our hotel to the Seaport World Trade Center, it was a relief to find the check-in to be quick and painless. Once given our badges, we entered the main floor of the exposition.
Standing in the doorway, there was a sea of booths to explore. (About eighty percent of the booths were for wineries, with the other booths displaying related items, such as food, wine gadgets, cooking tools, and food/wine publications.) Looking at the vastness of the expo, we needed to decide how best to conquer this event. We decided to start on the right side of the room and travel to the other so that we would not miss any displays.
The first two aisles on the right were filled with vendors from various food businesses. We were able to view and sample delicious cheeses, mustards, and cookies, among the many food items. We also learned about new technology for wine, publications for the food and wine industry, and events that center around dining and wine.
After having spoken with several vendors and learning about their specialties, we left those aisles and embarked on our world tour of wine. As I mentioned, the expo was overwhelming. With over 1,800 wines to sample, it was hard to decide on a strategy. Luckily, I overheard one vintner telling another person that he thought it best to pick one varietal and sample it from different wineries. This seemed like an excellent game plan to me.
Being a fan of red wines, I decided to explore the world of Cabernet Sauvignon. With so many vineyards from which to choose, we strolled the aisles, choosing wine from different regions. We had the best conversations with company representatives before the expo was opened to the public. With a smaller crowd, there was no rush to leave each booth and more opportunities to ask questions.
By 1:30, the expo had become very crowded. Though there were thousands of attendees, the vast amount of wineries helped to keep waiting times low. However, with 10 people waiting behind me to sample a wine, I often asked fewer questions to keep the traffic moving.
As the afternoon continued, we sampled many wines and made our way to the far side of the room where there were more interesting nonwine booths, including a home water system that provides both plain and “bubbly” water. We also stopped to watch a cooking demonstration at one of the two designated areas.
By 4:00 we had sampled dozens of wines and foods and learned about many new products. At this point we were saturated with wine and food knowledge. Though there were also offerings of seminars and guided tastings, we did not take advantage of these classes, something to add to the list for next year.
The Boston Wine Expo was a wonderful event that will become part of our yearly schedule. We learned an incredible amount of information, met some interesting people, and got to sample delectable foods and wines. A truly amazing experience.