Friday, March 22, 2013

Glass City Wine Festival Shines In Debut Event

The inaugural Glass City Wine Festival kicked off its inaugural event in a big way, drawing thousands to Toledo’s Seagate Center on March 16. Eleven Ohio wineries and 22 vendors were featured at the festival which seems like a sure bet to return next year.

Our party of four arrived shortly before doors opened at 6:00 and lines were already forming to get in. It was obvious from the start that this was a very well run event, with a nicely printed program and scores of workers outfitted in matching Glass City Wine Festival shirts.

Upon entry we headed toward the back of the hall and settled in at the Hillside Winery table. We sampled their Marechal Foch, a grape that isn’t often
seen, but we’ve grown to love. At each winery booth, our tasting cards were marked or punched to keep track of our samples. Based on the number of spaces on the card, we could have up to 50 tastes (don’t worry, we never made it that far!).

The festival had a great array of vendors such as Copper Moon Studio Gallery, Maumee Valley Chocolate & Candy and Rachel Michael’s Gourmet Popcorn. We met Nick Kubiak at one of the first booths. His Bordo Tasters Tablet, which provides a way to hold your wine glass while you conveniently take notes, was indispensible during the festival.

Aside from the ability to taste so many Ohio wineries under one roof, the greatest feature of the event was the food – most of it free. We enjoyed crepes from Toppers Ice Cream/Crepe Creations and noshed on food from Final Cut Steak & Seafood and Beirut.

After Hillside we visited Firelands for some of their 2010 Cabernet. Our only regret is that they were sold out of their Gewurztraminer. We also were able to visit Klingshirn Winery and Mon Ami Historic Winery.

Our final stop, and our favorite, was Emerine Estates Winery. Jason Emerine was serving up the wine and entertainment. We sampled the enigmatically named “Wine” wine. This is a 100% all natural Pinot Noir that is hand-picked and pressed. It is finished in oak barrels and was a hit with us all.

The bell-ringer for us was the Seduction wine from Emerine. This is 100% Pinot Noir plus coffee. The blend is exotic and the aging in oak barrels gives this a robust body and hearty flavor.

The Glass City Wine Festival benefits Therapy Dogs United of Erie, PA, and was sponsored by Lilly Broadcasting LLC, a privately owned broadcasting company, and by Therapy Dogs United. Sponsorship for the event looked very strong and the crowd was enthusiastic.

If there was a downside to the event, it was its popularity! The hall soon became crowded with reveling wine lovers and the lines grew. Immediately after grabbing a glass of wine, we had to head to the next line.

There are also some favorite Ohio wineries we’d love to see be part of the festival, such as Ferrante, Vermillion Valley and Laurello.

Way to go Glass City Wine Festival! Welcome to Toledo. We’ll plan on seeing you again next year.
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