If you’ve ever attended the Mohegan Sun Wine Fest, you already know that it’s one gigantic bonanza of not only wine tastings but a stellar line-up of celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, food samplings of top regional cuisine (extra charge), and plenty of beer and liquor tasting opportunities as well. The cover charge for this main event is $70 per day…certainly enough to keep hopeless barflies and the $1 gin & tonic crowd at bay. But still, you’ll notice roughly two types of attendees in the crowd. The first is serious trade…restaurant owners & bar tenders looking to keep up on the latest imbibing trends and making informed purchases. And of course all the merchants marketing these lovely libations. The second group range from dedicated oenophiles to refined lushes. You can either sniff, swirl, taste, and spit or make your way around the maze of tables fully enjoying each wine being offered. There are arguments for and against each approach but it’s the escalator leading up to the second floor packed with beer and other various alcoholic beverage booth that transports you to a louder talking partyish scene. Last year I sampled among many others Jeremiah Weed Ice Tea, Narragansett Ale, and Hawaii’s own Kona Brewing Company’s full lineup. On your way back down the escalator, you’re bound to hear a tipsy utterance or alcohol infused conversations.
Back in the Grand Ball Room, you’ll immediately be immersed in main stage chef presentations which this year promise to be exceptional with an impressive lineup including Todd English, Bobby Flay, and Donatella Arpaia. Culminating each day of the festival is the hilarious Grape Stomp and highly competitive Oyster Open shucking competition. I can’t wait to see what this year brings and hope to see you there!
Video and photo courtesy of Steve Mirsky & Mohegan Sun Casino