Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Upcoming Event: 20something - The New Vintage - 11/17/12 - Fremont Studios, Seattle

Are you ready for the party of the fall? Now in its 6th year, 20something – The New Vintage (@20somethingwine) roars back into the Seattle scene on Saturday November 17th, from 6-10pm at the Fremont Studios.  This annual event attracts more than 1,000 attendees and is co-produced this year by Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (@VisitSeattle) & the Washington State Wine Commission (@winecommission).

So what exactly is 20something? The event was modeled after Taste Washington but created to appeal to a different and younger audience. While you definitely don’t have to be a 20-something to be in attendance at the event, the event has a much more club type atmosphere and definitely caters to the 20 to 30 something crowd. You’ll find a DJ, winemakers and winery representatives mingling amongst the crowd, and a much more informal approach to wine tasting. But don’t think you won’t have some of Washington’s most well-known winemakers themselves in attendance also. Last year I had the amazing opportunity to try WSU Alum Drew Bledsoe’s wine Doubleback, and was also able to chat a bit and get a photo with the famed quarterback turned winemaker! Because you’re not dealing with lines at tasting tables, once you’re able to snag a winemaker for a taste, you have a better opportunity to ask a few questions and not be in someone else’s way. The only downside to this (which I’ve mentioned in past posts on the event) is that it’s often very difficult to find specific wineries that you know are there. A tip from a past pro who has struggled through this in years prior: go early. If you beat the crowd, you’ll have a better chance of tracking down specific wineries by word of mouth (just ask someone if they’ve seen that winery nearby) or simply because you’ll be able to better see through the crowd. Last year’s event had the winery representatives sporting glowstick necklaces (that some turned into bracelets) in order to stand out better in the darkened room. This made it much easier to zone in on a winery when you were ready for your next taste.

Some people might ask WHY exactly hold an event catered to the 20-something set? Well I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but the 20 to 30-something set is big into wine lately. They’ve let go of the notion of an image of wine as their mother’s cheap Chablis or White Zinfandel. The “New Vintage” of wine drinkers is more educated and eager to try new varietals. And the biggest factor is that they have disposable income since most aren’t yet tied down with mortgages and families. This is the perfect audience for wineries. Get them to try and buy now, and they’ll likely be customers for life. In an age of social media, garnering the attention of this age group also bodes well for exposure and a bigger presence in the marketplace. Plain and simple: if they like it, they’ll tell everyone they know about it via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or some blogging platform. As an event geared toward this hot demographic, 20something – The New Vintage aims to educate and attract loyal wine drinking consumers.

This year the event has teamed up with some local hotels for some great packages to turn the one-night event into a Seattle weekend getaway. Check out packages at some notable Seattle locations:

Hotel Ă„ndra - 2000 Fourth Avenue/ (206) 448-8600

Hotel 1000 - 1000 First Avenue/ (206) 957-1000

SpringHill Suites - 1800 Yale Avenue/ (206) 254-0500

With over 75 wineries pouring (have you seen the winery list? Another great line-up!), and over 15 restaurants pairing delectable bites to go with your wine, there is no way you are leaving hungry or thirsty from this event.

Don’t miss out on this fall’s trendiest wine tasting soiree and get your tickets for 20something before they sell out. And believe me, they WILL sell out. Tickets for this popular event generally start reaching sell-out stage at least a week or two prior to the event. Get on it and I’ll see you at 20something 2012!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

BevMo! - a Beer Drinker's Paradise?!

After five years in San Diego, I was more than well versed with the offerings of BevMo, their extensive choices of all things wine, beer and spirits.  While I didn’t always take advantage of the locations nearest me there, the grand opening and newness of the idea here in WA seems to have wrapped me up in its fold of excitement.
In principle the idea remains the same between the states, offer a great selection of wine, beer and spirits and do so at an affordable cost while maintaining a locally owned small town feel, this is not a box store.  The South Center store offers all of this and more.  With an approximately 500 square foot tasting area, the store is well suited for events, casual tastings as well as educational seminars.  It is a focal point really with direct line of site from the front entrance.
The real reason I was there though was to educate myself on the beer department and I was surprised to learn some neat features about the set-up as well as the unique opportunity WA state laws have given beer drinkers in this mecca for beer.