If the winter doldrums are starting to get to you, don’t let them. A potent panacea is within easy, car-free reach. Winter wine events are plentiful this season, with tastings, pairings and seminars that will please novices as well as connoisseurs.
Whether it’s a complex Bordeaux, a buttery Chardonnay or a simple rosè that tickles your taste buds and excites your nose, educate and tempt your palate at one of these seven wine events near NYC and throughout the Northeast.
What: Boston Wine Festival
Where: Boston Harbor Hotel, Rowes Wharf
When: January 11 – March 29, 2020
Why: The 31st edition of the nation’s longest running Food and Wine Pairing Series takes place at the 16-story Boston Harbor Hotel. Stay overnight and book a room with stellar harbor views. This luxury waterfront structure may be in the direct path of Boston Harbor’s cold winter winds, but you are sure to warm up quickly at one of many themed events, ranging from a Cajun-influenced Jazz Brunch to a Frog’s Leap seminar and lunch. Whichever event you choose, this renowned series is under the expert tutelage of Chef Daniel Bruce, whose passion and talent for pairing fine food with perfectly complimentary wines is respected in wine circles.
How to get there: Consult the oM Boston Guide for public transportation. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from South Station.
What: The Winter Wine Festival
Where: Wentworth by the Sea Hotel, New Castle, New Hampshire
When: January 17-February 16, 2020
Why: Named one of Travel + Leisure’s 500 top hotels in the world, this historic hotel with a Grande Dame atmosphere is just outside of Portsmouth, a town that’s developing a blossoming reputation among foodies. The lineup for this seven-week event ranges from serious Grand Vintner’s Dinners to more whimsical offerings, celebrating sustainability with local food and award-winning American wines.
How to get there: From Boston’s South Station the bus to Portsmouth takes one hour via C&J Trailways line. From the Portsmouth stop, you can catch a taxi to the Wentworth, or give the hotel a call a few minutes before you are pulling in, and they should send the hotel van to pick you up; 603.422.7322.
What: Virginia Wine Expo
Where: Main Street, Richmond, Virginia
When: February 6 -March 8, 2020
Why: The centerpiece of this Expo, the Walk-Around Grand Tasting, will have you sampling hundreds of bottles of Virginia wine, Virginia spirits and wines from their 2019 guest regions. The Grand Tasting will be held on March 2 and 3. Seminars include Virginia’s Top 12 Award Winning Wines and Finding the Perfect Cigar Pairing at Havana ’59. Hotels a short walk from the Expo include the gorgeous Hilton Garden Inn- Richmond Downtown and the charming Linden Row Inn, which has a complimentary shuttle service to whisk you around town. For an old-fashioned southern treat, stay at The Jefferson Hotel, where the ambiance and genteel service is reminiscent of a bygone era. Many Richmond hotels have special rates for the Expo, so be sure and mention that you are attending.
How to get there: Amtrak to Richmond in just over 6 hours.
What: Niagara Icewine Festival
Where: Niagara Falls, Ontario
When: January 10- February 16, 2020
Why: Icewine is a dessert wine made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine, producing a highly concentrated flavor. The festival events are scheduled at a number of locations in the Niagara region. The opening night Niagra Icewine Northern Lights Gala ($190 CAD) is the much-anticipated celebration of the best of Niagara cuisine coupled over 35 wineries pouring their award-winning Icewines, Late Harvest, Sparkling, premium red and white wines. This formal attire affair will be held at the Fallsview Casino Resort. Make sure to book a room with a view of this natural wonder of the world. Discover Passes are $45 CAD and include access to eight food and wine pairings at the festival.
How to get there: Amtrak’s Maple Leaf will get you to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in 9 hours.
What: Wine Tastings at Brooklyn Winery
Where: 213 North 8th Street, Brooklyn
When: Check the website for times and dates.
Why: You don’t have to leave your beloved city to expand your oenophile instincts. A MetroCard and 45 bucks will suffice. Classes will range from tackling the basic principles of wine tasting, including identifying general wine characteristics such as acidity, tannins, length, age-ability, and the presence of oak to food and wine pairing and the best wines to drink in winter. Classes and tastings change throughout the year, so be sure to check back regularly!
How to get there: Take the L Train to the Bedford Ave. stop (First stop in Brooklyn). Exit on either Bedford or Driggs and walk north to North 8th St. Walk east on North 8th St. and it’s on the north side of the street at 213 North 8th St.
What: Wine and Cheese Pairings
Where: Murray’s Cheese, 254 Bleecker St., Manhattan
When: Check the calendar for specific classes, which run throughout the year
Why: Murray’s Cheese is a veritable Greenwich Village institution, serving up hundreds of cheeses in a convivial atmosphere. With Wine and Cheese Pairing Classes, you’ll learn the fundamentals of combining two classic ingredients and assembling the perfect cheese plate — perfect for the next time you’re called upon to host. In addition to Wine and Cheese Pairing Classes, Murray’s offers a variety of classes combining their extensive library of cheeses with alcoholic beverages, including seasonal sparkling wine and champagne-themed courses. Book online using the interactive calendar feature. Wine and Cheese Pairing starts at $90/person.
How to get there: Take the ABCDEFM to W 4 St station, or the 1 to Christopher St. or Houston St.
This post was originally published in 2012 and is updated annually to reflect the best winter wine events near NYC.
Photo: Wentworth by the Sea
Allison is a native New Yorker, who has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Toronto and Los Angeles. She frequently contributes travel pieces to Family Travel Forum, using her own children as guinea pigs as they travel the globe. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish and laughably adequate in French. Her background as an Early Childhood Educator gives her an added understanding of what it takes to travel with kids in tow. She firmly believes that the most important part of education takes place outside of the classroom, on the road, around the world. She never misses a chance to sample local delicacies, as her love for travel goes hand-in-hand with her love for food and wine. Follow Allison at @gourmetrav.