Boston Wine Expo 2016 Review

Last weekend I attended the 2016 Boston Wine Expo. Held on President’s Day weekend for the past 25 years, the Boston Wine Expo is the wine tasting event of the year for serious wine drinkers. After a great first experience with my boyfriend at the 2015 Boston Wine Expo, I was excited to attend the Silver 25th Anniversary this year.

The Expo took place on both Saturday and Sunday at the Seaport World Trade Center. We opted to go to the Grand Tasting which featured over 1,800 wines from 200 wineries. The Grand Tasting was held on Sunday, which was also Valentine’s Day. After a filling breakfast at home complete with Valentine’s chocolate, my boyfriend and I headed out to the Seaport in sub-zero temperatures. For some reason the weather gods seem to frown on the Expo—it fell on the coldest two days this year and during a blizzard last year.

boston wine expo 2016

Immediately upon entering the Expo, I noticed that the rows were wider and the tables were more spaced out. The 2015 Expo was very crowded, both due to it’s popularity and ticket trades on account of the blizzard. It was nice  to see that the organizers took this into consideration.  The increased spacing made it much easier to walk around  without the fear of bumping into someone and spilling wine.

We worked our way up and down the rows, sipping everything under the sun. When attending tasting events, I try to focus on new-to-me brands. There were several that stood out to me this year, including Brooklyn Oenology’s Broken Land, Bodegas Taron’s 2014 Rosado, and nearly every Vinho Verde offered. I also enjoyed new favorites from some of my go-to’s including the Magic Door Cabernet Sauvignon by 90+ Cellars.

A sucker for photo booth fun, my boyfriend and I had a blast at the Infiniti gif-producing photo booth stationed between their beautiful cars.

boston wine expo 2016

There were a number of small businesses at the Expo this year, many of which were food or snacks which allowed me to graze while I sipped my wine. My favorite was McCrea’s Candies, a local Boston company with the best caramels ever. While all of the flavors are delicious, the Black Lava Sea Salt Caramel is to die for!

mccreas candies boston wine expo 2016

Wine wasn’t the only alcohol at the event—Jonathan Pogash, aka The Cocktail Guru, was in attendance with some tasty cocktails too!

the cocktail guru

Although the Boston Wine Expo is huge, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into someone you know and low and behold, I ran into my blogger friend Jodi at the event.

boston wine expo 2016

On our final round, my boyfriend and I found the Troublemaker Wine kissing booth, a delightfully fun addition to the Expo!

boston wine expo 2016 troublemaker

Once again, the Boston Wine Expo stands as the perfect Valentine’s Day event in Boston. What better way to celebrate the day than drinking wine with the one you love? See you again next year!

Summer in Boston So Far…

I’ve been telling myself for over a month that I was going to update my blog…and then life happened. More like, then summer happened. It’s crazy how time flies by in the summer. Summers in Boston are always busy—a combination of nice weather and a lack of college students makes it easier to do things. But this summer seems especially busy, likely because people are doing everything in their power to make up for a snowed-in winter.

So, where have I been and what have I been doing? The summer started with my boyfriend moving back to Boston from Los Angeles, which was pretty much the best thing ever. He moved in with me because we’re crazy, or crazy in love, and that’s what crazy people do.

Jamaica Vacation

We went to Jamaica, where we spent 5 too short but glorious days at Couples Negril stuffing ourselves with food and booze, laying on the beach, snorkeling, bearing it all on the nude beach (whatttt?!), getting couples massages, and taking selfies with the under appreciated but super useful selfie stick. The resort was great and the grounds were beautiful. Neither of us had ever been to Jamaica. which made it a memorable first vacation together.

couples negril jamaica

couples negril jamaica

Gratuitous kissing shot but it’s my blog so I do what I want!

Friendiversary

Speaking of firsts, in June my blogger sister-from-another-mister, Caitlin, and I celebrated our first “friendiversary”. We met last year at the Boston State of Innovation convention, held at the Westin Boston Waterfront. I was networking for a new job in tech and she was pouring wine for her company and we hit it off immediately. We celebrated one year of friendship, bringing our antics back to the Westin for celebratory cocktails.

friendiversary

Top photo last year, bottom photo this year. Photo Credit: Cait Plus Ate

90+ Cellars Rosé Cruise

Speaking of Caitlin, in June I spent an awesome day with her and her mom (and about 200 other people) on the 90+ Cellars Rosé Cruise in Boston. The weather was iffy leading up to the weekend but the day of the event could not have been more perfect. I had a blast sipping Rosé and found a new favorite, Earthshaker Rosé de Pinot Noir. Try it, trust me, it’s a perfect dry Rosé for those of us who love pink wine but hate the super sweet stuff.

90+ cellars rose cruise boston

earthshaker wines rose de pinot noir

Shag Boston

Exciting to no one but me, I added some sombré highlights to my hair for the summer at Shag Boston. My hair is incredibly difficult to work with because I’m allergic to hair dye and I had colored my hair at home with henna—a lethal combination for a stylist. My allergy causes my skin to burn so I can only get dye on my hair, not my scalp, hence the sombré. The henna that I used for some color a year ago is a natural permanent dye that can turn green or blue or yellow when dyed over. My stylist Kristie Chirgwin is a master at her art and gave me this natural awesome look. She’s amazing!

christie chirgwin shag boston

 

The rest of my summer has been full of food and concerts and weekend trips that I will write about in other posts. Until then, enjoy your summer!

Wine Riot Boston

The past few weekends have been busy and, with Spring in full swing, are about to get a whole lot busier. I still have to post about my trip to visit El Boyfriendo in LA, but first let me tell you about Wine Riot.

Wine Riot, the epic wine event by Second Glass, came to Boston last weekend. The 3 session, 2-day event took place at the Castle at Park Plaza. Having never been to Wine Riot before, I was anticipating the long booth lines and over-crowded bathrooms that dominated my experience at the venue for a beer festival. Whether Wine Riot draws people with stronger bladder control or it was just better organized, I was pleasantly surprised not to have to wait at booths or bathrooms. In fact, Wine Riot was unlike any event at the Castle at Park Plaza.

wine riot boston castle

From Coachella-style cloth wristbands to the Bubbly Bar and photo booth, Wine Riot left little to be desired.  A seasoned veteran of booze fests, I prioritized non-wine activities before getting into the thick of tasting, knowing the that wine would always  be there but the other activities would fill up. I made a rookie mistake by not eating dinner before arriving, so before anything else, I made a beeline for food.

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, a Boston favorite, was serving up their legendary grilled cheese sandwiches. Somehow this was my first Roxy’s experience – it was nothing short of amazing. The crunchy, buttery, cheesy goodness was delicious and everything I could have wished for and more! I got the original sandwich but another option with bacon and avocado was available. As much as I love bacon and avocado, for some reason the combination of the two has never spoken to me.

roxy's grilled cheese bostonAfter getting some sustenance in my belly I linked up with my good friend Caitlin who was working the 90+ Cellars table and hit up the photo booth before it got too crowded. Is there anything more fun than a photo booth at a wine fest? No, the answer is no. We snapped some quick silly pics, highlighting my love of shopping (and drinking) local.

wine riot photobooth After the grilled cheesin’ and picture taking, I managed to do what I went for and tasted some vino. Aside from the deliciously refreshing Boston-based 90+ Cellars Lot 50 Prosecco, my favorite wines of the night included Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir, and Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses. How could you not love a wine whose bottle looks like a rose?

Speaking of pretty things, Wine Riot amped up the fun with a temporary tattoo stand. Caitlin and I got fancy with some gold flash tattoos that resembled bracelets and rings – nothing says classy wine drinking like fake gold tattoos, am I right?

wine riot flash tattoos

They say tattoos are addictive and if that night was any indication, it is certainly the truth. After my fast foray into flash tattoos, I went a little crazy and got just about every available temporary tattoo on my arm. I aimed high and by the end of the night had as close to a half sleeve of temporary tattoos as possible. The tattoos complimented the Sex, Wine, and Rock n Roll tank top I purchased at the event.

sex wine rock n roll

Tattoos aside, the night was a blast. There was a laid back fun vibe that I wasn’t expecting from a wine event which I found to be a welcome relief. It’s comforting to attend a wine event where you don’t feel uncomfortable not being an expert. The venue was great and suited for couples and friends as well as groups, as evidenced by the multiple bachelorette parties I saw on Friday night.

Two thumbs up for Wine Riot! While the event is over in Boston for now, if history repeats itself, there should be another event in the Fall.

Boston Wine Expo 2015: Valentine’s Day

Last weekend was Valentine’s Day, which, in my world, can be spent in no better place than with the ones you love and with plenty of booze. This year I had the opportunity to attend the Boston Wine Expo  with my boyfriend for a wonderful Valentine’s Day of love, wine, and fun.boston wine expo 2015

The Boston Wine Expo is hosted Valentine’s Day weekend in Boston. This year we were expecting a blizzard of epic proportions – estimated to have the strength of a Category 2 hurricane. I had been biting my nails all week, praying that my boyfriend would be able to fly in from Los Angeles and that the Boston Wine Expo would still go on.

boston wine expo valentines dayThis was our first Valentine’s Day together (aww!) and I was hoping that the plans I made for us wouldn’t be ruined. Someone must have been listening because my Valentine flew in on time Friday night and by Saturday afternoon we were trudging through the blizzard to the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center. Despite Sunday’s Grand Tasting cancellation because of the storm, Saturday’s event was great!

Neither myself nor my boyfriend had ever attended the Boston Wine Expo so we were excited to experience it together. The Expo did not disappoint! A big supporter of small businesses and startups, I was happy to see a number of small wineries and local Boston companies as well as small businesses from different parts of the country…and wine, of course.

The World Trade Center is huge and between the food demonstrations, wine-inspired shops, and tastings, there was a lot to see! Sectioned with rows of wines on the inside and food and companies on the perimeter, the Expo was surprisingly easy to navigate despite its size. I enjoyed the New York and Florida wine sections – two states overlooked for their production in the wine industry. There were 25 wineries from New York present and it was the first time that NY wineries took part in the Boston Wine Expo.

new york wineries boston wine expoOn the Boston front, my fan-girl favorite Boston wine company, 90+ Cellars was holding court in the center of the room. They had 4 pallet tables set up for tasting both 90+ Cellars and Ironside Cellars wines. I had been meaning to try Ironside wines and was happy to get to taste their Cabernet Sauvignon.

ironside cellars boston wine expo

But in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I was on the hunt for something pink and fun to drink. Not that I need any excuse for rosé, but nothing says Valentine’s Day like pink wine. The good folks at 90+ Cellars sent me over to Gerard Bertrand for some of their Crémant Rosé and Gris Blanc. Monsieur Bertrand was on point with his delicate bubbles and crystalline rosé. gerard bertrand gris blanc

Wine app and local Boston startup, Drync, was a sponsor of the event. The Drync app, which allows you to scan, rate, find, and buy wine you love, was keeping track of the most popular wines.

drync app boston wine expo

Throughout the day, the Drync team rushed from table to table awarding the “trending” wines on their app with a flag. This not only made the Expo exciting and tied to social media, but it also allowed for attendees to easily follow the user-rated best wines of the day. I’m not exactly a wine connoisseur, so I appreciated being able to rely on the taste buds of Drync users who probably know more than I do about wine.

Once we were tasted-out, the shopping began. Second Glass, the company behind Wine Riot and wine inspired t-shirts, had a table set up at the event. I had seen their shirts before and jumped at the chance to grab one at a reduced Expo price. There’s nothing like shopping after drinking wine, am I right?

second glass drink wicked local tank topMy boyfriend and I snagged matching “Drink Wicked Local” shirts in Boston colors, purely by coincidence and not at all because I’m a weirdo who wanted matching shirts. He got the t-shirt and I got the tank top so we’re arguably not really matching. I love the tank top – cute and soft and perfect for anywhere, including the best yoga studio in Boston where I prefer to sweat out the alcohol I consume.

Despite the weather dumping buckets of snow upon Boston, everyone was in good spirits. One of the things I loved about the Boston Wine Expo was that the crowd of attendees was a mix of different ages. Boston is a young city, which lends itself to bars full of a relatively homogeneous group of young professionals and college students. But the Expo drew people of varying ages and relationships – from couples to friends and groups of singles – just looking to have a fun Valentine’s Day.

90 plus cellars orange sunglasses

I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to attend The 2015 Boston Wine Expo. We spent a snowy day drinking and learning about wine, patronizing small businesses, and having fun – a perfect first Valentine’s Day event in Boston!

Note: I received two free press passes to the Boston Wine Expo, but all opinions and sassiness are my own.

Hot Mulled Wine – Perfect Snow Day Drink

I’m proud to say that I survived the Blizzard of 2015 in Boston. It wasn’t as bad as predicted, but as I write this, the snow has been falling steadily for over 24 hours and I’m so bored that I need some wine.

Thankfully, I had the ingredients in the house for one of my favorite winter drinks – mulled wine. Called Glühwein in its native German, mulled wine is a warm wine infused with mulling spices, similar to the hot cider that you get when you’re apple picking on an awkward third date in the fall, or the yummy scalding drink they hand out in paper shot glasses at Williams Sonoma.

Recipe for Mulled Wine (Glühwein)

10 mins, Easy

Ingredients:
Red Wine
1/2 c. Water
Mulling Spices
Cheese cloth
Honey or Sugar to taste
1/2 Orange or 1-2 Clementines
Brandy (optional)
Cinnamon Stick
Directions:
Put mulling spices into a cheese cloth. Peel zest from orange, omitting pith (white part).
Put spices, zest, water, and honey/sugar (to taste) into saucepan and simmer.
Squeeze orange into pot and stir.
Add wine and optional brandy until warm throughout.
Remove spices and pour into mugs with orange peels.
Garnish with cinnamon stick.

I had a bottle of one of my favorite wines, 90+ Cellars Big Red Blend. Mulled wine is usually my go-to for my not-so-favorite wines, as the mulling spices, brandy, and honey tend to mask anything I don’t like. But Boston liquor stores are still closed thanks to Snowmageddon 2015, so I sacrificed my yummy Big Red Blend to the Glühwein gods for the sake of something warm to drink.

mulled wine recipe 90 plus cellarsYou can make your own mulling spices out of cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon or pick them up at the store like a normal person.  I’m firmly in the “normal person” category and picked mine up at a supermarket. I’m also usually in the “add brandy” category when making this recipe but that’s up to you.

I also cheated and used clementines instead of oranges because I don’t like oranges. Also, I felt like the Incredible Hulk while squeezing the juice out of the clementines. The recipe isn’t exact with respect to time – I usually just wait until it’s steaming or I’m thirsty enough. Keep an eye on it though, as you’d hate to burn off the alcohol by letting it boil. Once it’s ready and smells good, pour it into a mug, garnish with a cinnamon stick, and enjoy – Cheers!

mulled wine recipe

Note: 90+ Cellars DID NOT pay me to write about this wine. I’m just a 90+ evangelist who loves their wine.