Friday, January 13, 2012

Washington WIne Academy's Second Annual Wine Walk

It's not the 1K that's daunting. It's finding the first wine station
Last year, the Washington Wine Academy kicked off their annual 1K wine walk. Not only is it a great idea, but it is growing in popularity. Not only will you get to taste wines from around the world while wearing a participation bib, but you also get to explore the Crystal City Mall while doing some great people watching. 

To be clear, 1K is not an entirely long distance. If you are a competitive runner who does 5 miles on the treadmill before riding your bike to work, this is probably not the event for you - thought there was a bit more spandex on people last year than was necessary. On the other hand, if you are looking to try a bunch of new wines, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. And because 1K is better than no ks, you should enjoy that extra sample glass.

The Washington Wine Academy does a lot of good work around the area, and this event was a lot of fun last year. Hopefully I will be able to participate next year provided I am physically up for it. 

Walking and drinking red wine at the same time can do a number on white shirts, and works lots of different muscle groups.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Converting Skepics

Virginia wine is in an interesting place as 2012 gets underway. The quality continues to improve as more and more people realize that Virginia's wine industry isn't just a fad. Despite great advances in quality - I'm not the first person to admit that Virginia makes some damn good wine nowadays -  the broader wine-drinking population still scoffs at Virginia wine as being of poor quality, too sweet, or "a headache in a bottle." Several people have used that last phrase on me. 

While I wish Virginia wine had a better reputation, that Virginia wines were not segregated to the "local" section of most wine shops, and that consumers viewed Virginia wines as a viable and highly enjoyable option, changing mass opinion is a huge undertaking. Changing an individual's mind is far easier than changing a collective mind. All it takes is a corkscrew and a bottle that you like.

When someone scoffs at Virginia wine, I try to convince them that they are misguided and missing out. I will mention the advances in quality, the Old World characteristcs some of the wines now have have and the praise that the world's wine critics now bestow on wine from the Commonwealth. 

When I can, I much prefer to show rather than tell people that there is some great wine being made in Virginia. I had the opportunity to do just that not too long ago. Someone was planning to host a party with local food and wine, but backtracked on the wine. "Virginia wine, to me, just sounds terrible," she said. After the party, I brought over a bottle of 2007 Chateau O'Brien Buddy's Bistro Red. It's deep, dark color, smooth tannins, ample dark fruit and spice characteristics made it a huge hit with everyone.

Buddy is the dog on the label. His wine is quite good
In fact, everybody who tried it wanted to know where they could buy it, how far away the winery was and what other Virginia wines I would recommend. I gave them a few selections to try that were also $20 or under and urged them to visit the wineries, try the wine, meet the people involved in making the wine, and then let others know about their positive experiences. 

Make it a New Year's Resolution to try different wines from Virginia and tell others about the ones you like.