A Grand Success – The Grand Tasting Of The Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival

This was the first year for the Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival, not to be confused with the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival, that happens in October.

I heard a little about it here and there, and there were a number of different events happening during the festival, which started Thursday May 9 and continued through Sunday, May 12.

There were two events that caught my eye, the Oyster & Wine Cruise, which was an oyster cruise through Edgartown Harbor, eating Sweet Neck Oysters, while sipping wine, and of course, the Grand Tasting.

Sadly for me, the oyster tours sold out, and since I don’t have a press pass anymore, I wasn’t able to get on one.  So, I had the Grand Tasting to look forward to.  Next year, I am on one of those Oyster & Wine Cruises!

One of my favorite wine festivals is the Nantucket Wine Festival which has been going on for years.  It has such a fun, light hearted atmosphere to it, which might shock some people.

Why am I mentioning this?  Two reasons, first, I always learn a thing or two at the Nantucket one, and now that has also  happened with the Martha’s Vineyard festival.  And second, because I loved the atmosphere of the MV one too.  That’s why, and I think the comparison is a compliment.

Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival Grand Tasting

Even though it was pouring out, you couldn’t dampen the spirits of those involved with and attending the festival, sorry had to have a little fun with that.

When you walked into the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club, in Edgartown, you were warmly welcomed by festival co-founder Angela Vezzose (John Clift is the other) and, and got the most wonderful wine fest gift bag, a tote filled with awesome MV swag including some Be My Guest Granola, an issue of Edible Vineyard, Chilmark Coffee, Rose Petal Honey from Martha’s Vineyard Honey Co., and more.  This was a really nice addition to the wine glass you got as well.

Next, you got to pursue the silent auction items.  There were some great items available including a signed Bruins jersey, which definitely was the hot ticket item. Go Bruins!  Of course there was an amazing selection of wines to try and win, and people were signing up.  After all, it is a fundraiser for the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, which you know is a group that Point B supports.

There were even some tasty treats to grab from Not Your Sugar Mamas before you went into the tents.  Can’t say no to one of Ky & Bennett’s Be Local bars!  Also, Todd Christy was there from Chilmark Coffee which was a perfect stop on the way back in from the tasting tent.  A little jolt of caffeine is always helpful.

Before you entered the main tasting tent, there was a tent filled with scrumptious bites from Detente, Hooked, The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn, and the Atlantic.

I have to tell you that Kevin from Detente makes the most amazing beet creation, and I seriously dislike beets.  However, his beets with Grand Marsala and a blue cheese foam, yes you foodies, I said foam, they were delicious!

After a couple delicious nibbles, I was fortified and ready for the Grand Tasting tent.  I had no expectations, since it was the first one, but I was impressed!

Though rainy and grey, the tent was packed and full of people tasting wine. There were 56 tables offering something to win your palate with.  There were only 250 tickets available to the event, and even at sold out, it was so comfortable and easy to move around and try the wines, and really talk to the reps.

It was refreshing to have the opportunity to really explore some wines and other drinks that caught my eye.  As I get older, I won’t drink just anything anymore.  I drink what I like and what I crave and know.  So, I was able to broaden my wine repertoire a bit which was really fun.

Fun Things to Discover

So, Rosés are the big trend right now in New England, according to bartender and wine enthusiast Matt Ryan.  This is kind of funny since “pink” wines had a bad wrap for a number of years, think Zinfindel or good ole Riunite (from the 70’s and 80’s).

However, Rosés happen to be the lighter version of its red wine cousins.  The pink color is from the grapes skins and can range in color from pale to vibrant pink.  Just because it’s pink, don’t think it’s fruity and sweet, though some can be.  Most Rosés are more dry, especially the European brands.

At the Grand Tasting, I was able to sample a number of Rosés, so I was able to get an idea of what I like, which was a lot of fun, by the way.  I happened to like Whispering Angel from Provence, France.  And lucky for me, Whispering Angel Rosé is served at The Atlantic, which I found out on Mother’s Day – delish!  So, it looks like I have a new wine to drink this Summer.

In addition to the wine, I also was able to sample beer too.  Cisco Brewery and Peak Organic beers were there, along with a number of hard alcohol reps.  I had never heard of Deep Eddy Vodka, but let me tell you their Sweet Tea Vodka is awesome.  A little club soda and lemon and voila a perfect summer cokctail.

New England Rum

One of the coolest things I came across was Old Ipswich Rum, by Turkey Shore Distilleries.  This rum is actually made in Ipswich, MA.  Who knew?

Owner and maker Matthew Perry had an old distillery, from 1770, in his backyard when he was growing up as a child.  Always a source for fun and wonder, once he got older, he did a little research about the distillery, and decided it was time to bring back rum making to the Cape.  How cool is it to follow a dream like this?

Why is New England rum special and what makes New England rum different from our Caribbean friends’?  Well, the rum is aged in New Oak barrels instead of reused barrels, and the temperature changes that the rum experiences in the barrels changes the flavors.  In Caribbean climates, it’s one temperature, hot, and New England rum tends to be a little heartier and have more complex flavors.

Speaking of flavors, I loved the Greenhead Spiced Rum.  A somewhat funny name, but greenhead flies are a sign of warmer weather.  Let me just say how amazing is this rum that is made with lemongrass, mint and green tea.  A great change for rum drinkers for the Spring and Summer!  If that doesn’t strike a cord, perhaps their Fall/Winter rum, the Golden Marsh Spiced Rum might suit you.  It’s rum with cinnamon, clove, all-spice and more – just add hot cider and you’ll warm up in no time.

Finding out about things like Old Ipswich Rum and seeing new and familiar faces and sampling wine, of course, is what makes events on Martha’s Vineyard so much fun.  All you have to do is talk to people and you find out the most wonderful things.  I am so ready for a Summer of great events like this!

Congratulations to all those involved in the inaugural Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival, and I hope that a lot of money was raised for the Boys & Girls Club.   The event I was able to attend was really fun, and at $75 a ticket, I really feel like you got a lot.  I am marking my calender for next year’s. I’ve got a whole new reason to “wine” on  Mother’s Day weekend.

Thanks for reading On Point. You can learn more about the Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival and its events on Facebook. Don’t forget to “Like” Point B on Facebook, follow us on TwitterLinked In,Pinterest and YouTube.

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