Attacking the Tasting Room at the Vancouver International Wine Festival? Local wine consultant Kurtis Kolt offers tips on keeping your evening stain, stink and vomit-free.
1) Wear dark colours. Even if you're all fancy and graceful, it's pretty much guaranteed there'll be a douchebag next to you who mistakes your white shirt for a spit bucket.
2) Don't stink. Excessive perfume, cologne or body odour ruins it for everyone around you. Never mind Wine Fest; abide by this every day of the year.
3. Employ a strategy. You can look at a map of the Tasting Room on the Wine Fest website, and there will be one in your program when you get there. The room is organised by region, so if you know you want to explore France, you don't have to waste time getting lost in Portugal. The best part? Even if you do get lost in Portugal, it will still be delicious! Seriously, you're at a Wine Festival. How bad can things get? Oh yeah…
4. Spit, don't swallow. Use that spit bucket at every opportunity, because there's plenty of times it'll be too packed for you to get to it. Sure, it's kinda gross, but you know what's even grosser? Puking in a taxi. Worried about your technique? Practice with water over your sink. You should sample as many of the room's 780 wines as you can; the more you spit, the more you can enjoy.
5. Meet your maker. One of the cool things about our Wine Festival is that there's an insistence that principals from the winery are in attendance. This usually means the winemaker, so take advantage of the opportunity by asking questions about their wines or their region. In saying this…
6. Be nice. Wanna know the quickest way to get a winemaker to hate you? Respond to his or her, "Hi, how are you?" by extending a filthy wine glass in their personal space, drunkenly blurting, "WISH IS THE MOSE ESPENSIVE?!" A little grace and charm goes a long way.
7. Snap away. Use your smartphone to take a quick label shot of the wines you like. You'll recall favourites better than a few scrawled notes, it takes less time than pen and paper, plus it's funny to see how blurry those shots get as the night progresses.
8. Back off. So you and your bestie have got your samples, snapped a pic of a bottle or two and had a good chat with the folks behind the table? Cool. Now politely step out of the way so the people behind you can squeeze in. Nothing's more frustrating than spending ten minutes behind an impromptu gossip session while you're itching for a splash.
9. Ignore favourites. Excited to see some of your favourite wines in the room? Easy there, cowboy. Why waste your time checking out wines you already know when there's no way you'll have nearly enough time to tackle the hundreds of wines you've never tried?
10. Drink craft beer. Had a fun night and behaved yourself by not getting boozy? Time for a little reward. There's nothing better after a long wine-tasting session than a nice and hoppy craft beer, as it will totally freshen your exhausted palate. Check out one of the bustling new tasting lounges at places like 33 Acres or Brassneck Brewery.