Boston Wine Expo 2016: Something special for everyone

More than 1,800 wines will be displayed for public tasting at the Boston Wine Expo.
More than 1,800 wines will be displayed for public tasting at the Boston Wine Expo.
For those of you who’ve never been to the annual Boston Wine Expo, this is the year to make your debut. It’s the 25th anniversary of this classic event and its founders, the Boston Guild of Oenophilists, have come up with a spectacular program for the weekend of Feb. 13-14.
Come to think of it, what better way is there to plan a Valentine’s Day getaway than at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, the site of the 2016 wine expo?
If you can’t stay overnight in Boston, take the train for a day of wine tasting, food sampling, seminars, chef demonstrations and fun. A ticket to the Grand Tasting Room ($99 on Saturday, $89 on Sunday) provides an opportunity to sample 1,800 wines from more than 200 global producers. The event runs each day from 1-5 p.m.
What I like about the expo is that it’s never boring and offers a variety of exhibits for wine beginners and experts.
There are food kiosks located in the sprawling Grand Tasting room — and most of the cuisine is free and prepared by Greater Boston’s top chefs. Culinary aficionados will be happy to sit and watch the chef’s demonstrations that take place on the two main stages.
Personally, I enjoy tasting foreign wines that are not always available in U.S. markets. The key is to look over the producers’ list in your program guide and map out a strategy. The Italian and French wine kiosks usually get the biggest crowds as the afternoon wears on, so it’s good to sample those products first. Then take a food and water break, before heading to the next destination. My main suggestion is piano, piano — which in Italian translates to “easy, easy.” Pace yourself and enjoy.
If you really want to step up your wine experience, you might consider enlisting in one of the 36 top-notch private seminars scheduled over the two-day period. These fill up rapidly, so it is important to register online. Fees range from $35 to $225. What you get is an unbelievable hourlong experience in which experts discuss their special wines and you get to taste them.
My recommendation for beginners is Kevin Zraly’s fun seminar titled “The One Hour Wine Expert” which is $40. Zraly’s been described as a one-man Cirque du Soleil as he takes you on a tasting tour of three white wines and three red wines. His wit is amazing, and you’ll never be intimidated again by wine snobs after immersing yourself in the Zraly Zone. The seminar is both Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
I’ve got my eye on “Visionary Vintners: The Drouhin Family’s Story of Elegance and Excellence in Burgundy and Oregon” with Veronique Drouhin. It’s being held from 1-2 p.m., and the fee is $60. The tasting will include: 2013 Domaine Drouhin ‘Arthur’ Chardonnay, Willamette; 2012 Maison Joseph Drouhin Chablis ‘Les Clos’ Grand Cru; 2014 and 2002 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, Willamette; and — drum roll — the 2002 Maison Joseph Drouhin Chambertin ‘Clos de Beze’ Grand Cru. Wow!
For a complete listing of all the events, seminars and ticket pricing, visit the Boston Wine Expo2016 website at