Wine in the Winter celebrated its 4th annual event here in Nashville at the Hilton Downtown this last weekend, and if you know anything about Kalee & me, you know we are always up for going to a wine event here in town (or anywhere for that matter, lol!)
Kalee & I have gone to 3 of the 4 Wine in the Winter events here in Nashville. We fell in love with its sister event in the Fall which is Wine on the River. Wine on the River will actually be celebrating its 17th annual event this year!!
Both events have a VIP ticket option. We have always done the VIP for Wine on the River because it gets you earlier access by 30 minutes and a separate VIP area with a few different wines.
Wine in the Winter’s VIP
Nashville’s Wine in the Winter has a really cool wine class before the event.
VIP for Wine in the Winter is REALLY cool though. Not only do you get early access (basically you just get to jump the line ahead of the general admission tickets), but here’s the cool thing…you also get a wine class before the event.
Kalee & I have done the VIP 2 of our 3 times. The extra cost is absolutely worth it for the 4 Riedel glasses you get to keep!!
In the class, the wine connoisseur teaches you about the 4 different wines you will sample in class and also how important using the appropriate wine glass matters in how the wine tastes on your tongue. Super cool!!
Like I said, we did the VIP ticket 2 of the 3 years that we have attended.
One year it was red wines and the next was white, so we were now well stocked in the appropriate Riedel wine glasses for any wine we’d ever drink, and we had basic knowledge of reds and whites.
SO…that’s one reason we skipped VIP this year, plus, it’s a tad bit more than general admission. I think by about $55 each.
The event is cool & dim giving the ballroom a winter-like feeling.
Having skipped the VIP this year, Kalee & I decided to still be early. We wanted to still be first in line which is pretty much what the VIP ticket holders got as far as early admission. As soon as they all went through (there weren’t many VIPs), we were next to step into the winter wine festivities.
The dim blue lighting does give the ballroom a winter-like feel, but it was almost a little too dim. Not to sound like a little old woman, but even Kalee said it was hard to read some of the bottles.
Let’s be honest though, most weren’t there to read the bottles and learn about the wines.
Most were there to have a good time and mingle…which is exactly what we did!!
The ballroom’s 4 walls were lined with wine tasting tables, food samples, and a couple other little tables…maybe radio stations & a few other non-wine vendors. To be honest, if it wasn’t food or wine, we just skimmed over those tables.
The music in the main ballroom was also pretty loud, but it didn’t really bother us. It just added to the fun atmosphere. Several were there to “mingle,” so having to stand a tad closer to hear one another didn’t bother most.
The tastings and other booths spilled out into surrounding smaller ballrooms. They were more of the non-wine samples…like whiskey, rum, clothing, and some more food samples.
Having this additional room for booths, allowed for more room to walk about without being so crowded in the main ballroom.
There was also a nice little seating area as you walk into the ballroom which Kalee & I have used each year to sit and talk with new friends and sip on a couple of bottles of water.
The wine selection was vast but the same as the past years’.
The wines were from Lipman which is also the same wine vendor for Wine on the River, so we knew pretty much the wines that we’d be tasting.
For us going, it was purely for fun…which it is!! There are plenty of great wines to taste from Lipman.
The vendors and volunteers are always super nice. Unlike some wine events, there is usually a vendor or rep handy in case you do actually have a question about the wine. The volunteers are just that…volunteers, so they usually don’t know too much about the particular wine or even wines in general.
Having said that though, at this event, Kalee & I didn’t really care. Like I said we have pretty much tasted all of these wines before, so we were there for a fun evening, and the volunteers were making sure everyone was having one…they always pour heavy at this event.
Knowing that they pour heavy, I would suggest eating a little something before going like we did at Deacon’s New South or bring yourself some crackers or snacks.
Does Nashville’s Wine in the Winter have food?
Yes, they do have food samples, but sometimes there haven’t been enough food samples to offset the heavy wine pours.
Of course, you can always use good sense and tell the volunteer pouring, “that’s good” when you know you don’t need so much.
The Food…ah…pizza and desserts!!
Finally, some food we could eat vs the last couple of years where you hoped that there was a pizza place there.
We started off with Nashville’s famous Colts Chocolate. We got us a little sample of a red wine then we cruised over the Colts’ table. Here we took a few samples (shhhh). We each had a couple of the Colts Bolts and a Marie McGhee’s Bumble Bee (think chocolate turtle). YUM!! Perfect Pairing.
Then we had to stop by Stompin’ Grounds booth where they had these wonderful little French desserts and a lamb taco. The lamb taco kinda scared me, but after hearing everyone say how great they were, we had to try one, too. Not bad…or maybe that was the wine talking by then.
Finally, as usual with us, we had the must-have slice of pizza at these wine events. This pizza was from BoomBozz. It also was ok, but let’s be real…it had been made earlier in the day, so we were eating some luke-warm pizza here. It hit the spot though.
Other Goodies at Wine in the Winter
In addition to the wines and food, there were also samples of rums and bourbons.
There was actually even a cigar booth and some clothing boutiques.
Final Notes on our take of Wine in the Winter
Kalee & I really enjoy the casual, fun atmosphere of Wine in the Winter. Everyone is, of course, happy. I’ve yet to go to a wine event and run into a mean person, lol.
I would do the VIP at least once or twice just for the experience and the nice Riedel glasses. If you don’t do the VIP, and you want to beat some of the crowd, get there early and be first in line.
This works well for us. We do love these events, but we tend to tense up in crowds, so getting there early allows us to have a few samples before the place gets packed with other people.
It and Wine on the River are both awesome events, and we recommend for fun…not for a wine education.
There are designated driver tickets available, too, at a discounted price, so make sure to always be responsible at these events. (had to pull out the protective mama there, sorry.)
Do you have a favorite wine event you must attend each year?
Check out other Nashville Reviews
Staying in Nashville soon? Check out our review of the Kimpton Aerston!