With the rise with online Social Networking and huge online wine movement, we’ve seen more companies and wine industry-types going more aggressively after the 21-30 demographic. They are, after all, a rather untapped resource of the next-gen wine drinker so it only makes sense that the Washington State Wine Commission would target an event aimed squarely at them – it’s even named for them.
The “20 Something” event is essentially a glorified night-club-like atmosphere with a DJ on a stage, various food vendors setup with samples and winery-folks walking throughout the crowd, pouring their wines for the patrons.
With a sold-out crowd of 800 people, Saturday night was a define:plethora of wine drinking, food-eating, pumping music and a main-area floor that started “moving” once the crowd started to dance. Not my scene, personally, but then again, I’m not the demographic for this kind of event – yeah, I know I’m old so shoosh!
It’s no accident that quite a number of top-chefs and winemakers are here – even the famed Tom Douglas. I had a nice chat with Tom – a Chef I know many in the food industry have a profound respect for. In many ways he has done a lot to help put the city of Seattle on the culinary map on a national level.
I saw Tom on Iron Chef America where he faced off against the formidable Masaharu Morimoto – the secret ingredient was salmon and Tom pulled off a victory. When asked about how that went down he said “We had about a 3 week notice from the producers and regardless of what the secret ingredient was, we were going to do the same dishes”. I asked him which of the Iron Chefs he would be the most worried about going up against and he said “Mario”. My last comment to him was that I was surprised he doesn’t have his own show yet on FoodTV – he replied, “Are you kidding me? I have a face made for radio”.
Over 80 wineries were represented at this event and overall I believe the folks in attendance had a great time. My only issue with the format of it is I’m not sure how anyone would remember which wines they had that they liked and wanted to remember.
With a free-flow format of wines being poured randomly into empty glasses, it seems like it’d be a poor ROI for the wineries and ultimately for the consumers. The Wine Commission did try and address this problem by letting the wineries pass out business cards with a specific URL on them that folks could go look up later. However, let’s be honest, by the time the 4-hours went by, who was going to remember anything?
Spinning for nuts at Tom Douglas’ booth – don’t ask
Josh McDaniels – Winemaker of Sweet Valley Wines
Mack Lovin – Assistant at OS Winery