I am back from 2 days spent at the DC International Wine and Food Festival! My lips are stained purple, my feet are killing me, and my hand is cramped from taking so many notes.
I went on day one from 1 until about 5. One to two were the trade hours, and I would say I got the most done that day during that time. Once it opened up to the public it was much harder to get around, the aisles filled up and it was sometimes 4 to 5 people deep to get near the tables. I spent day one with John from Anything Wine which was great, it was fun to have someone to go around with and talk to as we were waiting or tasting! I was also psyched to meet John, I’ve been a long time reader of his blog and he is a frequent commentor here!
Today I went by myself and pretty much only stayed for the trade hours from 11-2. Let me tell you, that was quite enough! I was going to stick around since it was open until 6, but I had visited a ton of booths, tasted many wines, and it got crowded the second they opened the doors.
Some initial thoughts: Seating somewhere would have been nice. Especially today. After a full day yesterday my feet were killing me today, and after about an hour I really would have appreciated a bench. People are not very careful (or polite) when tasting in such a mass setting. On day one, a woman decided that the floor was her dump bucket, and without even a glance down she turned her glass over, and tipped it out. On my foot. Today I got spit on. Apparently someone was practicing their spitting technique? Or else was new to the concept of spitting….the same fellow also had a penchant to tip his glass in the direction of the dump bucket and just fling the wine….uh, yeah, that doesn’t work so well.
Now, I’m all about getting out of the way as soon as I am done tasting, and once the public came in, I tasted quickly and moved out of the way. Sadly, that apparently wasn’t fast enough for some people who liked to shove and push their way to the front. I loved the trade hours since often I got to be the only person at a booth and could really talk to the person running it (some winemakers, some owners, some family members) and ask questions.
I tasted through a ton of wines. I tried to focus on importers and vineyards that I hadn’t been to before, though I must admit, I dragged John to Rodney Strong yesterday, and I’m glad I did, since they weren’t there today! I skipped the VA Vineyards since I was familiar with many of them, and have visited a ton of them.
Oddly enough, some of the places, both wineries and importers/distributors, just didn’t show up. There were tables for them, and signs up, and they were on the list, but they weren’t there. Notable on the first day to me was that Four Vines and Trentadue didn’t show. I didn’t have time to check if they were there today, but I did not notice them. Also, several of the wineries didn’t come back for the second day.
I’m still figuring out how I want to break down the tastings I did for posts here, but I hope to start putting them up this week.