2013 Newport Seafood and Wine Festival ended on Sunday, February 24, after four days of eating, drinking and general revelry.
This was the first year that vendors were required to attend the Thursday evening event, after last year’s successful trial run. Officially opening at 5 PM, Thursday was a bit slow, but wine vendors had great opportunities to really talk about their wine and connect with patrons.
Hip Chicks do Wine, always a hot spot, were relocated to a new spot, and these ladies were the first faces many attendees saw when they entered the festival. And what a place to start: options ranged from sangria to port, with eight wines in between. The off-dry Muscat and Wine Bunny Rouge, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Zinfindel, seemed to be the biggest hits. Wine should be fun, and the Hip Chicks do Wine aim to find something in a bottle that will please everyone.
After visiting the Hip Chicks do Wine, patrons could brave the Saturday crowds to find an amazing array of blends and varietals under the big white tents. Wine makers recommended winemakers, and a few stand outs include J Wrigley, Kandarian, Macindoe, Ancient Cellars, Hillcrest and La Brasseur. From a Roussane-Viognier blend at La Brasseur to a Melon de Bourgogne at Macindoe, interesting varietals abounded. J Wrigley offered an outstanding example of Oregon’s favorite grape, Pinot Noir.
This year, the event opened at noon on a blustery, rainy and cold day. Well, it is February on the Oregon Coast. However, the de rigueur weather was soon overtaken by the gamut of climate conditions. Fifty-mile an hour winds produced biting sideways rain, only to transition into sunshine and rainbows at the sunset. As evening fell, cacophony of hail rapped on the tent roof, but a carnival atmosphere reigned inside.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and thank goodness. The lines waiting to get into the tent were wrapped around the block. Mother Nature seemed to be taking pity on many Portland Seafood and Wine Festival attendees, because about 2,000 people never made it inside. It seems there were major problems with the e-tickets. While it wasn’t confirmed, vendors speculated that the fire marshal was limiting the number of people entering and exiting. This puzzled many vendors who saw some drop in sales and visitors from previous years.
The glass recycling containers tell a different story. As the festival wrapped up on Sunday, two containers full of wine bottles were echoing clinks of “cheers” and “salute” from the four day Newport Seafood and Wine Festival weekend. We’ll be looking forward to 2014.