Waking up to the light but relentless snow on Saturday made me feel a little sad and then I remembered I had tickets for the Boston Wine Expo and my mood started to lift.
I met my friend, Stacey and we headed over to the Seaport World Trade Center around 2pm. After going back and forth on which ticket to get, we decided on the regular entrance fee of $100~. Sadly, it felt like this ticket price was a second class citizen price upon arrival. We were sent upstairs and all the way to the back of the center in the outside cold only to gain entry and have to walk all the way back through the length of the center to check out coats. I think I understood why when we arrived. There were so many people there it was an absolute zoo with at least five rows of people deep at each wine booth. Sticking your arm through the people so that your empty wine glass got a little taste of this or that wine made you feel like Oliver Twist when he said “Please sir, can I have some more.” It was difficult to get to the front if you really wanted to talk about a particular wine and that was the saddest part for me. I really do want to know more besides just tasting the wines. Some vendors also seemed overwhelmed and not that happy to discuss wines with the public… even sadder.
I have been going to the Wine Expo on and off for many years and each year it has gotten more and more crowded and the memory of me saying to myself each year that I am not sure if I will do this again comes flooding back.
All the negativity I had for the event did get better as we started to walk around. Wine sellers and makers from around the globe, cheese and chocolate makers, ceramic and t-shirt makers and many other vendors all waiting for the throngs of people to stop by. The food and non-wine booths were easier to get to so we did stop by a lot of them.
What I noticed most about this particular year was a major presence of women and wine. ThirstyGirl, Wine Sisterhood and Sweet Melissa were all there and most certainly having fun with the crowd – especially Thirsty Girl who had cards for people to dress up in for photographs.
As the crowd started to dissipate around 4pm we did notice a lot of vendors I was sad to have missed but did get a chance to stop by a few of them before leaving.
I am not sure what the right answer is for this event. I do think they should really try and limit or stagger access as it is quite overwhelming and frustrating. We did think about paying an extra $60 for the Grand Cru tasting, which was across the street at the Seaport Hotel but as that was going on at the same time we decided not to. My friend was there and said it was a lot of fun. I will perhaps try it one more time next year with an upgraded ticket.
Forgetting the crowds we did have a lot of fun, especially on the people watching side of things. There are many other things going on such as cooking demonstrations, wine tasting classes and seminars so dont be put off by my slightly negative review if you want to give this event a go. It can be quite a treat.