2003 Boston WIne Expo - Printable Version

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- Glass_A_Day - 02-02-2003 09:55 AM

I must say I was quite dissapointed. Billed as the biggest wine event in the country. Directions from the web site were bad, the quality of people there was shaky, and many of the wines were just awful. I couldn't believe some of the exhibitors pushing their wines as if they had a bunch of 82 Bordeauxs. Not quite what I expected for the $70 entry fee. There were a few fun surprises. Overall though, not worth the time. A big thumbs down from G_A_D. Here is the site if anyone is wondering what I'm refering to.

- Innkeeper - 02-02-2003 10:24 AM

I tend to stay away from all major wine expositions such as Boston, ZAP, et al, because they remind me of Filiene's Basement. Same goes for major tasting rooms in peak season. I don't think it's wine snobery to stay away from places where people elbow you out of the way, and you have to fight for a taste of wine. Other behavior of people at these things just completely turns me off. This ranges from the toads that are hawking the stuff, to the know-it-alls that pontificate endlessly in such a load voice that you have to scream to correct them, etc.

End of pontificating.

- Glass_A_Day - 02-02-2003 10:51 AM

Lesson learned!!

- Kcwhippet - 02-03-2003 08:06 AM

While there are certainly some aspects of the BWE that can make you want to run out screaming, there as many, or more, positive things to make you want to stay. You have to attend with a purpose and try to ignore some of those shills on the other side of the tables. You also have to learn to navigate the floor as if you're an ice breaker making your way through an irritating but navigable ice field. Personally, I was very pleased with the event. I met some old friends I visited with and met some new folks who are making some exciting wines and non-wine products. On the expectation of our upcoming visit to the Finger Lakes, I ran their table and tasted some very nice Rieslings and Cab Francs, while the rest of their offerings were somewhat unexiting. The Rieslings from Lakewood, Fox Run, Hunt Country (had a very nice visit with Art Hunt), Lucas and Heron Hill opened my eyes somewhat. The Cab Francs from Hunt Country and Hosmer were very nice, as well. I went from there and spent some quality time with Ernst Loosen from Dr. Loosen and J. L. Wolf (the property he took over a few years ago). It was very educational to be able to compare the very different styles between the Finger Lakes and Germany. Then there was the opportunity to taste the latest offerings from old friends Dex and Val Ahlgren (who don't make the trip out anymore because of age). Their grand daughter poured a beautiful Santa Cruz Nebbiolo, a Paso Robles Syrah and two Santa Cruz Cabs - Harvest Moon Vineyard and Bates Ranch. One of the greatest finds was Arcadian from Santa Ynez, CA. Joe Davis (the owner/ winemaker)had two Chards and two Pinot Noirs - one each from Bien Nacido and Monterey's Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, but very, very Burgundian. If you can find these - definitely try them!! They're newly distributed by Horizon here in MA and I saw Paul Provost (from Table and Vine) smacking his lips at that table. Steve Reynolds was there with his Stags Leap District Cabs that were simply wonderful, very extracted wines with very approachable tannins. Saw Ken Volk from Wild Horse again and he was up on his Rhone style Equus line. Very nice Marsanne, Rousanne, Syrah and Mourvedre. Did the Oregon table, and all the usual suspects were there pouring some very nice juice. Some nice stuff from Australia, including a new (to me) find in the Paiko wines from Boynton's, as well as Penfold's delicious Kalimna Shiraz and a wonderful Riesling from Wynn's. A real hoot was Mac McDonald, the first black winemaker I've met and a real showman. He had two very nice Pinot Noirs - one made from Sonoma fruit and the other from a blend of Sonoma and Marin County (who'd a thunk it). I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I look at the BWE like shopping at Spag's (for those of you in the MA area). I think the greatest problem is the large number of people who have no idea why they're there or what constitutes tasting etiquette, but you can bristle at the crowds and fight the surges or you can flow through the holes and enjoy the experience. I enjoyed the BWE.

[This message has been edited by Kcwhippet (edited 02-03-2003).]

- Glass_A_Day - 02-03-2003 08:17 AM

It's hard to believe we were at the same event. Maybe you just ahave a highter tolerance for bad wine and idiotic people. Yes, some wones were interesting, but I found few that knocked my socks off. Not even close to being worth driving to Boston. The women seemed to think the tasting was a fassion show or a social event. All dressed to the nines and were about as sharp as a bag of marbles. Many of the men were acting as if they were in a bar, slamming down as much juice as they could to get their moneys worth. Those that were knowledgable made sure you knew it. Then actually trying to get to the tables. These idiots would just stand there after getting their pour. Not asking questions, just looking around. Get out of my way for god's sake. If this is your idea of an enjoyable day then go for it. Myself, I would rather go to an event with some class. (Then again, you do tend to disagree with my posts anyway.) [img][/img]

[This message has been edited by Glass_A_Day (edited 02-03-2003).]

- Kcwhippet - 02-03-2003 10:52 AM

You're certainly right about the ignorance and lack of etiquette of a lot of the masses. You're also right about the plethora of bimbos on the floor - both in front of and behind the tables, and the self important "experts" muscling up to the tables and expounding their expertise for all to hear. However, I've been to 10 of the 12 BWEs and, while all that bothered me at first, I've tried to learn over the years to ignore all that crap and create a little island around myself so I could have an enjoyable experience. I don't know which day you were there, but one thing I have learned is that Saturday tends to resemble a meat market singles bar. Sunday the crowds are less and have a greater preponderence of people who actually seem to know a bit about wine. Though the great unwashed are still there it's in lesser numbers. One advantage I have is that I get in on a trade ticket which gives me one hour on Saturday and two hours on Sunday to do some meaningful tasting before the thundering herd descends. As for the bad wine - there certainly is a lot of mediocre juice on the floor, but that's something you learn over time to bypass or to sip, spit and move on. For instance, over the two days I never once stopped at the KJ, Chalone, J. Lohr, Gallo (disguised, but there), Black Opal and others of that ilk. Another thing is that I'm a bit parochial in that I spend the majority of my time on New World wines. Right off the bat, I noticed South America was a bust. They only had their lower tier wines, so I moved on. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa had some nice wines, though they also had too much of the lesser mass market juice. So, I concentrated on finding the hidden gems from CA and NY. One thing I should mention is that quite a few wineries had some of their higher end wines open only during trade hours and put it away for the public. I think that's a disservice to those, such as yourself, looking for something besides the "usual suspects". For example, Wynn's (Australia) only had two bottles each of their John Riddich Cab and their Michael Shiraz open during the trade portion. They're exceptional wines that should have been available to everyone, and I told them so. After all, how does anyone know to ask for them if they don't know they're out there. Many of the wineries do keep a bottle or two of the "good" stuff under the table that you can get a sip of if you have the right approach. Another thing is that if I noticed a particular table was hopelessly crowded, I moved on to where there was some breathing room. I've been doing trade shows (participating or attending) since 1973, so I've learned to maneuver around the show floor to avoid the bottlenecks. So, I guess I'm just trying to say that I try not to let the negatives of the situation get to me and ruin the experience. I try to find the positive and go with it. Maybe next year we can meet up and do it together, and I can try to help you steer through the clutter and have an enjoyable day. BTW, I hope you don't think I've made it a point to disagree with your posts. That's totally not the case.

- Bucko - 02-12-2003 08:36 PM

I quit going to ZAP a couple of years ago. Even the trade section made me feel like a sardine. It got to be a burden rather than an enjoyable event. Why bother?


- Glass_A_Day - 02-12-2003 08:38 PM

This was my first and last Boston Expo.

- Thomas - 02-12-2003 09:03 PM

Glassaday, in one of my wine columns I created a "wine tasting etiquette" which was a list of what I think people should know before they go to a wine tasting. The first thing on the list, and the last thing on the list (in case anyone missed it) was: after you get your pour, get the hell out of the way...

- Glass_A_Day - 02-12-2003 09:05 PM

I think that was my biggest issue there. I can make my way through the masses, but when I'm standing behind some goof who is just looking around with his glass full... man it gets me crazy.