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Wine Fest post-mortem

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I guess that's not a very good blog title, as it implies the Wine Fest has kicked the bucket. Fear not! It will live to see the day next year...I've been sort of avoiding the giant recap that the Wine Festival deserves (I have a few pictures I might upload as well), but suffice to say that the entire week was great, I had a great time, and everyone involved with the Fest seems to be pretty pleased with the Fest as a whole.New this year was the Saturday matinee public tasting; formerly open to trade and hospitality folk only, it was opened up to the public this year. It wasn't a jam-packed affair like the evening tastings, but attendance was good (which means more money for Special Olympics Manitoba) and the extra elbow room allowed folks like me to make notes without worrying about getting an elbow in the face.Saturday night is typically sold out, and this year was no exception. Many attendees like to get their party on Saturday night, and why not? Some of us look at the Wine Fest as an opportunity to try and learn about many new wines. Others see the opportunity to get dressed up and tie one on. No harm done either way, and the sound of glasses breaking was surprisingly absent this year.One bittersweet moment at Saturday night's tasting - a voice over the PA announced the final score in the Philadelphia Flyers/Montreal Canadiens game, and the result (the Habs lost) sent a chorus of dejected "ohhhh"s through the room. I immediately headed for one of the booths pouring port to drown my sorrows.While I haven't tallied the exact numbers, I'd hazard a guess that I tried around 60 wines over the course of the day. So, to close out the tally:Number of wines sampled Saturday = 60.Number of wines sampled over the week = 158.

I'm hoping to have lots of fun stuff lined up over the next little while. Now that my barbecue is no longer covered in snow, I'm hoping to test drive a few dry rosés against some grilled food for a column. I also went to a scotch tasting last night, and if my notes are at all legible, I'll look to tackle that as well.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm off to Germany at the beginning of June with some other wine writers to toss back some Riesling in its homeland. Very exciting - providing I can get my hands on a laptop (hot tips on good deals will be rewarded), I'll be blogging daily from across the pond as well.

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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