Friday, March 13, 2009


Today begins the latest edition of the Cincinnati International Wine Festival, billed as one of the biggest wine festivals in the Midwest. Big boast, but they are probably right. After all, they've got the full weight of the supermarket juggernaut, Kroger's, as main sponsor. I hope that for the sake of all those participating and attending this year, that there will be marked improvements.

To say that I was colossally disappointed last year would be a profound understatement. Yet doing some recon for my crew, who will be attending the trade event Friday before the Grand Tasting, I am not all that impressed.

There are 134 booths for the local winos to visit, including several food vendors and informationalists like Wine Cellar Innovations and Cincinnati Magazine. However, with the inclusion of food vendors like Dole, Heinz and Carr's Crackers, hold on to your hats my fellow foodies, you are all in for the culinary equivalent of American Idol.

There are bright spots in the lineup - I was visited by both winemaker Greg Graziano (from Graziano Family of Wines) and winery owner Barton O'Brien of O'Brien Estate, both of whom have some fantastic offerings from California. Our friends at Vintner Select will be manning booths for Marc de Grazia (phenomenal Italian wines), Reininger from Washington State, Robert Whale Selections (featuring Seifried, Tamar Ridge and Coriole), Eric Solomon, and Alain Junguenet's Wines of France. I trust my dear friend Audrey Wood will be there from TGIC Importers, as well as Megan from Quintessential and Lisa from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Diamond in the rough, Joseph Carr wines are not to be missed. And there are others from Vintage Point, Wente, Don Sebastiani & Sons, Michael David Winery, Row 11, and Terlato. There is a lot more that will be there, and a lot I am probably missing here, but from the cheap seats tomorrow, those mentioned will be my desired short list.
If you are going, drop me a line at and let me know what you thought of it. Maybe my expectations are too high, but for the price of admission they are charging this year, $65 for Friday night + $35 for the additional Special Room (where the wines you really WANT to taste are hiding out) this is definitely the ANTI-RECESSION wine event of the year around here.

All I can say is "cheers! Or is it "jeers?"

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