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Wine Week:  What are YOU doing the last week of January?

Given all of the weather and peculiar mass animal deaths the U.S. has witnessed since the first of the year along with the ensuing conspiracy theories about “The End of Days,” I’ll bet that if there is an earthquake along the New Madrid Fault Line south of St. Louis the third week of January it won’t be attributed to both the east and west coast of the country being overrun with wine lovers causing a tectonic shift in the middle of the country.  Nah.  If there’s a fissure in the middle of the country it will be chalked up as another sign of the apocalypse.

Wine industry insiders and enthusiasts may know better, however.

Commencing on Saturday, January 22nd in Boston and culminating on Saturday, January 29th in San Francisco, it’s entirely possible to work a bi-coastal wine event program and immerse yourself in all matters wine for eight glorious, whirlwind days.

I’ll be making one leg of the trip to New York, but here’s a tentative itinerary for the more adventuresome:

The Boston Wine Expo, a consumer and trade event, kicks off the week of wine debauchery on the 22nd.  Highlighted by tastings with dozens of importers and international wineries, chef-led demonstrations and seminars with wine luminaries like Mark Oldman (somebody I would listen to reading the phone book aloud ), as well as Ray Isle and Leslie Sbrocco, the Boston Wine Expo is perennially popular (wine writer Robert Dwyer has the deets on discounts and passes at this link).


If you make it through the Beantown weekend with your wits, hope the Amtrak to New York City for the kick-off of Vino 2011 organized by the Italian Trade Commission to build mindshare and support of Italian wines.  Starting on Monday, January 24th and wrapping up on Wednesday, January 26th, Vino 2011 is trade-focused.  However, these days, a “media” member is such a broad designation that you can probably give it a whirl (more information at this link).  The event promises a wine-fueled, information-packed few days and I’m looking forward to attending as a panelist in a seminar.

On Monday, Anthony Giglio’s guided tasting on a quality pyramid for Prosecco should prove to be interesting and useful.

Then, it’s off to the Wine Enthusiast Wine Stars awards – the Oscars of the wine world, an event I’m hoping to attend for the cocktail hour as not quite a gatecrasher, but definitely a slip in against headcount on the passed hors d’oeuvre quota.  If Steve Heimoff doesn’t get a mini beef en croute it’s because I’ve slipped an extra one in the pocket of my tux, owned not rented thankyouverymuch.

On Tuesday the 25th, I’m a bit peeved because I’ll be sitting on a panel about wine and digital marketing with wine PR guru and shipping champion Tom Wark, Snooth Editor-in-Chief Gregory Dal Piaz and a couple of other talented folks.  However, it’s at the same time as a seminar given by Mary Ewing-Mulligan on Soave.  Frankly, I’d rather listen to Mary than hear my own voice, but I’m guessing that the demographics of the tech-interested crowd will lean our way and we’ll have a full room (you can watch it streaming at 2:30 pm EST here).

Before my panel on Tuesday morning is the annual research summary presentation by the Wine Market Council at the Museum of Modern Art, another event that trade and media can gain admittance to with advance credentialing.


The rest of your would-be whirlwind wine trip has a mid-afternoon jaunt to the airport to catch a westbound flight out of New York to Sacramento for the Unified Symposium in Sacramento that starts on Tuesday the 25th and wraps up on Thursday the 27th.

The Unified Symposium is THE show for the wine industry, with its sold out exhibitors hall and informational seminars.

Thursday can be a day for walking the floor and catching a Pinot Noir seminar with tasting from 2:00 to 4:00 before heading to the San Francisco.

Friday is a catch your breath day: Sleep in, and drink plenty of water in advance of the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) Evening with the Winemakers dinner.  Dinner, live and silent auctions and more Zinfandel than you can shake a toothbrush at will get you in a convivial mood for the debauchery to follow on Saturday.


Of all the wine events in the U.S. wine world none is more well-known (infamous?) than the Saturday ZAP Grand Tasting at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.  The rule here:  Spit.  The guy or gal next to you may be swallowing or dribbling … on their shirt that is, but they won’t be spitting.  This will become an interesting point for people watching at 4:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.

With your eight day whirlwind now coming to a close, make sure to continue to hydrate, get a good night’s rest and then head up to Napa on Sunday morning for a quick day trip, giving yourself a bonus sticker for the extra effort.  Hey, you’re practically in the neighborhood, right?

After your quickie Napa jaunt, drive back down south and fly out of Oakland.  Never fly out of SFO, the bane of any traveler’s existence.

Your eight days plus bonus day safely in your mind’s eye as you look out the window of the plane just hope that the pilot doesn’t point out any natural disasters that happened during your wine jaunt as the wine world buckles both coasts later this month.


Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (2) |


On 01/18, Thomas Pellechia wrote:

“However, these days, a “media” member is such a broad designation that you can probably give it a whirl…”

That’s one reason I don’t attend anymore.

I’m remembering the guy who was so drunk that he fell down trying to go down the up escalator.

Anyway, too bad I will be in NYCity from the 20-23. Missing both you and Alfonso that week is my only regret.

On 01/18, Thomas Pellechia wrote:

Incidentally, we old-timers are so passe that we no longer are invited to join panels…

If I were you, I’d attend Mary’s seminar wink


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