The DC International Wine and Food Festival lived up to its name. There were wineries from all over the world – not just California, France and Italy. In fact, the representation of those three wine powerhouses was pretty scarce. Perhaps a better name for the Festival would have been the “DC Emerging Wine Regions Festival.” The large contingent of wine from New World regions such as South Africa, New Zealand, Spain and the Finger Lakes far surpassed the representation from more well-known wine-producing areas.
Even Virginia had a pretty good showing with about half a dozen wineries on-site. The Washington Wine Academy was also on-hand pouring local wine – and had good crowds throughout the day. I was impressed that there was such a big showing by Virginia wineries, given that the DC festival was held on the same weekend as the Virginia Wine Showcase.
There was a large turnout, making it difficult to get samples and tastings from some vendors, but that isn’t unusual. Regardless, there was enough to do and see that it was not a major issue except with a few vendors. And seriously, if you are giving out samples of foie gras, there is going to be a wait. Like most festivals of its ilk, there were cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, food and wine vendors and myriad other businesses attracted by the demographics of the attendees.
Spain also had a big presence, too, but there was too much of a cluster for me to spend too much time tasting their wines.
There was, in fact, so much talk and literature about Finger Lakes Riesling that the region could run the risk of becoming a one-trick pony. The region should embrace what it does well, but it does wines other than Riesling well, too. I wrote about some producers making fantastic reds a while back, but the marketing collateral that the region is using so emphasized Riesling that it might make it difficult for other wines to get the respect and attention that they deserve. Still, Oregon's wine industry certainly hasn't suffered from emphasizing its Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.