“Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.”
Enjoying wine can be a pleasure, but it can also be intimidating. The folks at Second Glass came up with a way to make wine interesting, accessible, and fun: Wine Riot. The Riot is like a wine trade show, but for the general public and presented in a very friendly, festive way. The most recent installment of the event was held on October 25th and 26th at the Park Plaza Castle in Boston.
Wineries from some of the world’s largest wine-producing regions (Italy, France, California) were well represented, along with smaller producers from up-and-coming areas like New Zealand and South Africa. Wines from such places are often less expensive than their counterparts, and can represent outstanding values. A few New England vintners were also included.
A key component of Second Glass’s strategy involves incorporating educational elements into the Wine Riot. The “Wine 101” area offers novices an opportunity to understand some basic wine characteristics by offering tasting examples of dry versus sweet, or young versus mature. There are also short seminars on specific wine topics for those who want to dig deeper. And just for fun and atmosphere, there’s a DJ, a photo booth, and temporary tattoos available to “commemorate” the event.
Guests pick up an official tasting glass (technically, a plastic cup) at the entrance and roam around the floor, stopping at winemakers’ booths and tasting as much or as little as they feel like along the way. There’s also a specific area for tasting the many varieties of sparkling wines (champagne, prosecco, cava), purveyors of wine-related gear, and vendors selling food (something solid in the stomach helps keep you from getting too tipsy too quickly).
Pulling it all together is the Second Glass smartphone app, which allows users to navigate the Riot, keep track of the wines they like best, and locate retailers for the wines they want to purchase. There’s also an area of their website offering specially selected wine bundles for purchase. (The bad news for Boston-area readers: at the present time, wine shipments cannot be sent to Massachusetts addresses. But the organization Free the Grapes is working to change this; their website has information on how you can participate and make your opinion known.)
So far Second Glass has hosted Wine Riots in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. For locals who missed out, the Wine Riot will be returning to Boston on April 18-19, 2014. Visit the Second Glass website or Facebook page for more information.