It was raining here last Saturday. Pouring actually. “What a perfect day for wine tasting,” I said to my husband, Chris. He agreed. We couldn’t wait to arrive at Arlington Race Track for their annual Taste At The Track. I had traded in my “mom wardrobe” for a flowy sleeveless top and white jeans. I even convinced Chris to wear white shorts to go with his button down Polo shirt. We were ready for a day of drinking and spending time together after all the traveling he’d been doing for work.
The first hurtle was the parking. There were places roped off and lots of cement parking dividers lining a path that, evidently led nowhere. We backtracked. It was still pouring. We were looking through the car for an umbrella. None.
“Maybe, if you go through that way, it will lead us up to the front door to drop me off?” I said it more like a question. We had no idea where we were going, but we finally found a way to the entrance.
The rain was drumming down on the roof of the car to the beat of the song ‘Wipeout.’ I didn’t want to get out, but Chris carefully said, “They’re going to tell me to move the car so hop out please.” I got out and immediately got pelted from the rain. In two seconds I went from polished to soused. Fantastic.
The second obstacle was finding where the actual tasting was located. We walked all over the building with other wine lovers who were just as hopelessly lost and finally found an employee who pointed us in the opposite direction. We made it to the far end of the building that leads out to a grassy area. Yes, folks this event is held outside. Damn. Okay, that was not the exact word I was thinking. It was much more colorful than that.
Chris and I looked at each other as if we were about to leap off a cliff. I held back and almost suggested just calling it a day, but we already bought the darn tickets so f- it, let’s roll.
Here’s where the dos and don’ts of attending a wine tasting come in:
DO: Find out in advance if this event is held indoors or outdoors. From the looks of everyone, I don’t think anybody realized this event would actually be held outside.
DON’T: Wear white. Just. Don’t.
DO: Keep an umbrella in your car at all times. (okay, this tip doesn’t necessarily pertain specifically to wine tasting, but still…)
DON’T: Attend a wine tasting if a tasting program is not provided in advance. There is probably a very good reason why that information is being withheld. The majority of wines served at this event were mediocre at best.
DO: Pace yourself. This was not a problem for this particular event because we tried two wines and called it quits, but for other occasions don’t be afraid to dump what you’re drinking into the spit bucket. That’s what it’s there for after all.
DON’T: Have any regrets. If there’s a wine you like, make sure you mark it down and usually there’s an option to purchase this wine at a discount (usually 15% off or so) from the vendors at the tasting.
DON’T: I repeat DO NOT attend the Taste At The Track. Even if the weather had been sunny, then you’re boiling hot and drinking warm wine. Wine is meant to be enjoyed indoors or in climates with less extremes of hot and cold like here in the Midwest with the one exception being the fall.
DON’T: Be afraid to tell the people pouring what you like. The first (and only) table we approached the man pouring asked me in his rich Australian accent if I like Pinot Grigio to which I curtly responded, “No, what else you got?” I was in no mood, even if it was an Aussie, whom I normally adore, pouring the vino. He quickly poured a Chardonnay for usthat tasted so-so.
Our story does end on a high note: we made a run to Costco and found Inkblot there for $27! They also had The Prisoner, Far Niente, Girard Chardonnay and Heitz Cabernet to name a few.
So as disappointing as that day turned out to be, it’s kind of funny to look back on it. Our mishap can hopefully prevent others from making the same mistake.
Cheers my dears!