Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wineries Unlimited: An East Coast Smorgusboard

Let me tell you now, there is nothing more fun than going to a BYOB Wine Tasting at Wineries Unlimited. In one of the Grand Ballrooms at the Valley Forge Convention Center there were a dozen tables set up, each representing a state or region. From New England to the Carolinas was represented, as well as Ontario, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee.

It works like this: you get a glass, and you go around tasting anything you want - no limits. It's all very low key. Like the look of that bottle? Grab it and pour yourself a taste. Of course, these are professionals, so they tend to pour themselves small tastes and leave some for the next person. It's low key, respectful, and lot's of fun. And I got a chance to taste wines I might never have had the opportunity to try, because some were from so far away.

The Place is peopled with all the names you'd expect, like Richard Leahy the event organizer, Kathleen Watson of Childress, Richard Olsen-Harbich of Raphael, and the folks from a number of other places. They're all just standing around talking. I met more winemakers in one night than I normally meet in a year or two!

New York was extremely well represented, chief among them Raphael. Martha Clara's delicious Five-0 was also in attendance. But many of the other names you might expect were also there.

From New England there were old reliables such as Sakonnet, but there were some new comers too like Connecticut Valley Winery, Neponset (Needham, MA) and some new wines from Jewell Towne (NH).

New Jersey's Unionville Vineyards was there along with Silver Decoy. Heritage Station, from Richwood, NJ was a newcomer who showed up. And there was Greendance a new winery from Pennsylvania.

From Virginia there were many wonderful wines, including LaGrage, Thomas Jefferson Winery and Chrysilis.

And of course we met the folks from Childress Vineyards, in Lexington, North Carolina.

It was a hoot. I'll be filing separate tasting notes in future posts. In the meantime, I need some serious asprin.