The 24th annual Boston Wine Expo rolls into town on Presidents’ Day (and Valentine’s Day) weekend, Feb. 14-15, setting up shop at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center for an extravaganza of tastings, dinners, and celebrity chef demos.
A grand tasting ticket ($99 on Saturday, $89 on Sunday, $149 for the weekend) entitles you to sample pours from an international roster of more than 200 wineries. When you enter, pick up a glass (yours to keep) and take it around to exhibitors. Many are the winemakers themselves, happy to tell you about the wines you’re sipping. Two demonstration stages in the exhibit hall will host local chefs such as Ming Tsai of Blue Dragon and Blue Ginger, and Barbara Lynch of Barbara Lynch Gruppo.
Continue reading below
The schedule of 40 hourlong seminars ($25 to $95, most under $45) reflects fresh thinking. You can purchase a la carte tickets to these sessions without buying entrance to the grand tasting. New this year is a Saturday seminar on biodynamics, presented by Rudy Marchesi of Montinore Estate in Oregon. The Willamette Valley winegrower promises to demystify the holistic grape-growing approach that has been called a “hyper-organic” farming method. If your tastes lean to the Southern Hemisphere and you are curious to know how producers in Uruguay are crafting vibrant, food-friendly reds from the tannat grape, a Sunday seminar conducted by New Hampshire-based importer-distributor Gustavo Moral might be just your speed. Peppering a thoughtfully curated schedule of sessions on wine regions in California, France, and Italy are opportunities to learn about non-grape-based wines, like cider and sake, as well as pours off the beaten path, like those from the Republic of Georgia.
Some popular sessions are on the schedule year after year. The wine-with-cheese seminar presented by brothers Brad and Brian Wasik of The Cheese Shop in Wellesley is one. Geared toward beginning wine enthusiasts are three seminars thoughout the weekend covering the basics, conducted by wine expert Leslie Sbrocco.
The educational track is so popular that a few hundred of the more than 1,000 attendees just attend seminars, says Marianna Accomando of the Seaport Hotel. “It always resonates with me when people say that they learned something they would not have been exposed to otherwise.” Boston Wine Expo, www.wine-expos.com