Without question, one of the best days of the year is the Virginia Wine Expo. Ever since moving to Richmond, it's been a Christmas-like tradition every February. I say Christmas-like because the Wine Expo is basically a holiday for winos like me. You pay about $50 for six hours of endless and limitless tastings from dozens of local wines.
Now that we've been going for three years, it's interesting to take a retrospective look back on how times have changed from the first gander around the Richmond Convention center to the most recent. In reality, not that much has changed: there's still a ton of good wine to drink, it's the same time every year at the same place and more-or-less I go with the same people. The only real, but very noticeable, difference is really just me. Me and my maturity.
My First Wine Expo
We decided to buy VIP tickets, you know because six hours isn't enough and we felt like we needed eight. I was actually so excited when I was buying my ticket, I accidentally bought the Sunday ticket instead of the Saturday. I emailed someone immediately, really not trying to pay for two days. But worse comes to worse, I'd probably have just gone twice, back-to-back.
In the end, I got my ticket situation solved by meeting someone on the same day and them checking off my name on a list of fuck-ups who did the same thing (they said it was pretty common). The bright side of this was that line was super short, almost VIP, and I was one of the first dozen people into the expo.
Well -- I was alone since my friends were in line, so what's a girl supposed to do other than begin drinking? By the time my friends made it through the normal line, I was two full tastings deep.
My goal this Wine Expo was to drink as much as I could. I wanted my $50 worth, and by God did I do it. I can't write about every hour of the expo because it was all hazy. But the key takeaway was that I sat in a limo drinking wine indoors, you know, because I'm classy like that.
Then we went out, I fell asleep at a bar and saw a naked man on the way home running down the street.
Sara's Second Virginia Wine Expo
This year was a doozy. Again, we decided to buy VIP early-entry tickets for the full eight-hours of consumption. Plus, I invited a VIP guest, my sister, to experience the shenanigans. By the time my new coworkers showed up for the regular entrance, I was already three sheets to the wind. I was giggly and showing them around the expo like this was my home.
We went to brunch beforehand to carb-up, but I had the genius idea of saving money by not buying food during the expo. Food was expensive there...
Instead, I put a protein bar in my purse and snacked on the free dip samples. You know, because that would hold over anyone for eight hours of drinking. But don't worry, I didn't do anything stupid except for the following:
- Hit on my coworkers husband (he's fine looking, but daaaaaaayum did he dress himself)
- Stalked the men of the League of Extraordinary Gentleman, which are men dressed like Ben Franklin
- Forced a guy to pick us up from the expo and not only bring us home, but to dinner, only after insulting his groufit
- My sister and I were asleep by 8:30 PM. #PartyAnimals
- Chatted up the olive oil women about how much my mom would LOVE their stall. I promised to take her to her store that month. Reminder: my mom lives in Connecticut
- There could be more, but I've suppressed them from my memory
This Year: The Third Wine Expo
The trilogy ends here -- for now, because I'll definitely be going back. This year, I was quite proud of myself. My list of embarrassing moments are as follows:
It was actually almost absurd. We didn't do the bonus two hours (cost effective), we went to a hearty brunch (I made a reservation even), I remember all six hours of the expo and I genuinely enjoyed trying the wine and learning about the flavors.
And I actually bought wine. I actually went to the expo, found wine I wanted to drink again and bought it for the future.
While some may say it was dull in comparison, it was amazing. I was buzzed, if not drunk, the whole time, but not in a way that I was stumbling over myself. It was refreshing. I was even able to go to dinner after and not fall asleep with my head against the wall. Bonus points: I didn't even have a hangover the next day!
Not only did I have fun, but I didn't make an ass of myself.
While getting old isn't something I really want to enjoy, having some amount of maturity to enjoy drinking wine without straight-up binge drinking, is a really good skill to have in life.