Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ohio Adventures: the Columbus Wine Festival

Continuing our (unplanned) theme of a fest each weekend, let's move onto the Columbus Wine Festival, which was held on Friday & Saturday, August 9 & 10 at Franklin Park Conservatory. 

Spouse & I went with our friend, JBH, who is a home-brewer of wine and meads. The hours were 2:00-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, and we made the decision to go a wee bit later, thinking we'd only need 2 hours or so to get through it. HA!

Parking was decent - they had valet/security directly people where to park so it was fairly orderly. Nothing worse than traffic anarchy when you just want to get your drink on. 

We'd purchased tix online so after our ID check, we stood in a very short queue for our glass (plastic - hmmmm), tickets and list/map. The fest took place on the Grand Mallway and was set-up with wine and product vendors on the outer edge of the square and beer vendors in the large center circle. 
I know I tasted approximately 18 wines and I'd give you the list of wines and beers I tried but, um, I apparently recycled it already. Sounds like a lot, I know, but they were being fairly stingy with their pours (1 oz. each - as IF!) and well, a few wines were tasted and poured out (with apologies to Dionysus for dissing his grape juice).

I do know the one that I liked the most was the Joseph Carr Merlot. I liked it more than the Cabernet Sauvignon they had by same vintner. It was very full bodied, dry and really hit the spot. After a fairly cool and non-humid summer, this day was warm and a mite humid, so we were definitely feeling the sun, especially before the sun started diving. 
This festival was marketed as an affordable wine fest. Only one of the wines available for tasting was more than $30. Not to be snobby and all, but there just weren't many that really tripped our palates. You could place orders there and receive a bit of a discount and we didn't buy any - if that's any kind of clue. To be fair, we have found some really great wines at Giant Eagle, the sponsor, so they definitely have a nice selection and really good price points. We just didn't come across anything that we had to have right then. 

On the plus side:

  • Not many of the vendors actually asked for tickets, so each of us walked out with a half dozen left over. 
  • They featured four local food trucks, which was really lovely and totally hit the spot. Especially as we decided about half-way through the wines that it was time to get hydrate and ingest something solid. 
  • The beer area was actually what we enjoyed most. Many of the brewers had fall beers - read PUMPKIN! - available for tasting. Even though it was a warm, humid-ish day, they were yummy. 
  • Found out Stella Artois is now making cider - or you know, Cidre. Quite delicious and refreshing and, according to the sign, will have a pear cidre, in addition to the apple cidre that they were pouring. 
  • They were being generous with bottled water. Even though you were supposed to pay $1, we each got two waters without paying for them. Toward the end, they just handed it out so we each grabbed another two each to make sure the drive home was kosher and all. 

We ended up being there from 3:45 p.m. to past last pour, which was 7:30 p.m., so clearly took longer than 2 hours. #NowWeKnow

After it was over, we came back to Chez Nash Humphrey for the real treat, which was the first tasting of JBH's strawberry lemon mead. Yum. Can't wait to try some more <hint, hint> or the pomegranate cherry that's frementing......
JBH's Strawberry Lemon Mead - YUM!
So ranking the three festivals I've reviewed so far, in the order in which I enjoyed them most:
1. Dublin Irish Festival. I mean, let's not be daft.
2. Akron Blues and Brews
3. Columbus Wine Festival

Join me on the next edition of The Bourgeois Homesteader for my review of the Columbus Food Truck and Cart Festival. Then back to regularly scheduled programming. 

How has your summer been? 
Any fun festivals where you are?

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