This weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, Houston was home to the inaugural Wine Fest. For two days, there were vineyards and other food and retail vendors gathered in Houston Park (Bagby and Allen Parkway) to show off their goods.
Normal tickets were $35 for one day, but luckily I had won 2 sets of tickets. I took my boos, Jordan and Christine to join the fun. Tickets were supposed to come with a cute tasting wine glass, 5 tasting tickets and a bag to carry your crap in. Well, Jordan dropped us off at the gates to go park the car and Christine and I got in just fine and surveyed the grounds while we waited for Jordan. When Jordan arrived we met him at the entrance and we were then informed that complimentary tickets did NOT include the tasting glass, bag and tasting tickets. Well that would have been fine, had we been informed or if the same thing was told to Christine and I upon our entrance with the same complimentary tickets. We had some words and got nowhere. Jordan didn’t mind, being the gentleman he is. So we went to use our tasting tickets and get out of there. It was so hot, maybe they should schedule it in late October next year. There was some live music, a bit loud, but nice to have. Panda Express, Pagoda, and other food vendors were there as well as tacky jewelry vendors and random knick knacks like wine centric paintings and wine koozies (really? trashy!). We started with Haak Winery out of Santa Fe, Texas. I went with the Cabernet Sauvignon (typical) and Christine had some white wine (haha Im not the biggest fan of whites).
Next we hit up the booth ran by the festival that featured a few wines from regions like Italy, South Africa, South America and France. I had a Malbec that was pretty standard, didn’t have time to really get the name or the year. woops. Then we hit up the Bernhardt Winery out of Plantersville, Texas. Apparently they have an affinity for Aggieland because they featured an Aggie Blush wine (gag me). Christine tried the Chardonnay and liked it so much she bought a bottle for $17 which is pretty good! I tasted the Valentine, a red table wine. That is exactly how I would describe it. It was way too fruity for me, gross. Tasted like grape juice and a touch of alcohol. No thanks!
The highlight of the approximately 1 hour I spent there was winning a bottle of wine. The MC got up on stage and asked a trivia question “What is the unofficial slogan of the Houston Wine Fest?” to which the answer was “Where’s the coffee?” They post on Facebook almost every morning with updates about the festival and always ended it with that phrase. So when they said that and asked people to come to the stage I was like fuck yeah. Well I got it right and they gave me my choice of 3 crappy wines, so based on Christine’s advice to go for quantity I picked a 2009 Pinot Grigio. There was one red, but Christine had tested it and it was sweet, a fucking travesty to red wines (in my opinion). After scoring a free bottle, we went to the Cork Soakers booth, which is a downtown Houston wine bar, to check out their selection. I had a a Lai Lai Pinot Noir out of Chile, which was probably the best wine I had, granted I wasn’t paying for extra tasting tickets after the issues we had with our tickets.
Christine had the idea to use 2 tickets to get a double pour, which tend to be more generous than the single tasting pour. So for my last two tickets we went back to the international booth and I stood in line for Spain and had a 2007 Tempranillo, that I also didn’t get the name of due to the long lines and people’s loitering while tasting. Oh well, it also wasn’t something I would have bought a bottle of.
Overall, I am SO GLAD I didn’t buy a $35 general admission ticket for FIVE tasting tickets, complete rip off. Also, it was so hot and the lines were tremendous at every booth. I have hope that next year it will take place in a cooler month and they will learn from this year’s mistakes, I definitely think if you are going to give away tickets to an event they should be the same as general admission or at the very least, stipulate the differences, that is just fucking common courtesy. If I wanted to blow a lot of money and stay all day and bring chairs to chill on the grass with a bottle of wine, it would have been better. OH except the heat. Thankfully my favorite people joined me in the misery.