Thursday, November 4, 2010

Decatur Wine Festival: This Year's Tips

This year's Decatur Wine Festival has a focus on organic and sustainably produced wines. In the same spirit, this is a sustainable blog post in that I've recycled some of last year's etiquette and survival post.

Now that we've all survived the elections, who wants a glass of wine? Or several? Seriously, whoever planned the Wine Festival for the weekend after Election Day was a genius. Nothing makes me want a drink more than weeks of mudslinging and robocalls.

However, no one wants a hangover or a miserable Saturday night after having spent three hours in the sun drinking wine. The temperature looks to be a little cooler than in years past, which will hopefully keep the reds from getting too warm.

Of course it's impossible to taste every single wine. First, the festival is only a few hours long. Second, a lot of tables start to run out toward the end of the day, especially the ones from popular or well-known wineries. Third, even if you have phenomenal tolerance, you've got to pace yourself.

Here are some survival and etiquette tips:

1. Bring a bottle of water and/or avail yourself of the ones there, if offered. An occasional glass of water is not going to be enough to stay hydrated. Try to consume equal parts water and wine, ideally more water. Hopefully they will continue to have the fancy portable bathrooms. Also, avail yourself of the food and keep something in your tummy.

2. To keep things moving, get a pour and move to the back of the line. Sip as you move forward again. There's nothing more frustrating than waiting forever for someone to go through four or five tastes while they block the entire table.

3. Rinse between tastes, especially if you're going back and forth between reds and whites. If you don't rinse, pour thoroughly and shake your glass out. Even if you're really tempted, don't shake it out on the table hog.

4. Try to save the sweet wines for the end. They'll burn your palate. They also tend to have higher alcohol content, and really, who wants to be sick by 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon?

5. As I mentioned above, pacing is everything. Hubby and I have a "two sip, three strike" rule: If the wine isn't good after two sips (two to allow for the interference of previous tastes), it gets dumped. If you try three wines at a table and don't like any of them, move on. Don't try to sample everything! The setup this year will make this easy with featured wines at each table.

As a wine professional commented last year, "Wine tasting is a journey, not a destination!" Relax, enjoy, and remember -- this is one of the few occasions where it's actually okay, even encouraged, to spit.

Disclaimer: all of the content of this post is mine. I didn't get any perks or freebies from the Decatur Arts Alliance or any of the festival sponsors. No wines were harmed in the writing of this material, although I can't make any guarantees for later.
Posted by Cecilia Dominic at 2:39 PM

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