Good Wine Events: Is It the Wine Or The Atmosphere?

Courtesy NSLC
We have been talking about Wine Events and how much work they can be as an attendee.  You need to get tickets, have a transportation plan, fight the crowds at the tables, find a place to taste the wines that you can actually discuss them.  That is not as much a complaint as it is the reality of trying to enjoy wine events.  It really is a lot easier and a lot more fun than we make it out to be with the above list.  Each year we attend the NSLC Port of Wines Festival which we find to be a blast and we have also attended some in-store events at local private wine retailers (read our notes from January here).

The Port of Wines Festival has always been a great event to us but then again we are die hard fans.  We really make a day of it.  We have usually attended the Saturday afternoon session as it allows us to enjoy the tasting and then have some fun in the evening (maybe not so wine related).  The evening sessions tend to be a little more crowded with folks not necessarily there for the wine, which we totally get as it would be a fun night out.  All that said it is not a problem with the event just the crowd that wants to drink wine and do the town on a Friday and Saturday night.  This year we may do the event over two days in order to separate out maybe whites from reds.  It is overwhelming with the number of wines available to taste and you absolutely cannot get to them all.  The other thing we have thought of is volunteering to help pour.  We always thought it would be cool to pour one night and taste on another.

But, we digress.

There was a trend that was being discussed at the Wine Symposium that more younger people who are interested in wine and food are shunning these larger events for a more intimate tasting experience.  The events have smaller numbers (say 50 or less) and may be themed but they are also not sales or promotional events.  They are food and wine events that are not facilitated by anyone but more wine discussions or just hangouts where like minded people tend to meet.  We like that idea.  We like the larger events too, but we like the idea of it being less structured and showing people different food and wines.  The cost of these events (we were told) never exceeds $50 but is more likely to be in the $15 - $25 range.  The challenge is how much can be delivered to people for that amount of money.  Wine and food samples would need to give people value for their money without causing the event to lose money (and at least break even).  That to us, is where careful planning needs to come into play.  You need to give people a great experience while making a profit at the event.  We have thought of some great ideas but we wonder what the popularity of these events might be and where we could get a venue that would allow for the space we required (to be really cool) and then give people a sense of the wine and food for that particular theme.

What are your thoughts about wine events?  What makes a good wine event to you?  Is it the ambiance and wines presented or is it the people who attend that make the difference?  Would you only attend in a group of your friends?  Would it be more interesting as a couples (or singles) event?  Would you rather have an in-home event that you could hold for your friends?  How much wine would be enough for you to make you feel you got some value (6 - 8 samples or 2 - 3 glasses of wine)?

We are interested in hearing your thoughts.  If you don't want to reply to the blog post or on our Social Media chains feel free to send a note at

Keep on drinking!

Chris & Shannon


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