“When you wear a hat, it is like medicine for the soul.” Add to that the medicinal properties of wine and a perfect weekend at the San Destin Wine Festival was born. Also known as the “Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals,” Mr. Cozi and I were so excited to attend this event in April. As you all know, I love fashion, people watching and a good glass of wine, so this event has made our calendar two years in a row. So, on this Fashion Friday, I am happy to share how to rock a wine festival with a flirty hat and a sober head.
With hundreds of wines being poured over a four-day event, if you aren’t careful you may end up drinking out of your hat and sitting beneath your wine glass, so it’s a good idea to go with a plan. Mr. Cozi is the “Prince of Planning” so we were able to have a great time and keep our legs sturdy at the same time.
Here is our strategy for rocking a wine festival:
- Study the festival map. The tables are numbered and labeled with the wines being poured. If you’ve tasted the wines at a particular table before, skip that table and taste only the wines you’ve never sipped before. Mr. Cozi had our tables circled on the map and we were careful to only tip our glasses with new tastes within our price range. Knowing that we’ll never purchase a $200 bottle of wine, it was pointless to taste it. Some may disagree and say these are the ones you should taste. To each his own.
- Eat. Drink and be Merry…. in that order. Be sure to eat before the tasting begins, drink plenty of water between tastings and of course, have fun!
- Take breaks. We would walk around the perimeter of the event, check out some of the shops of Baytowne Wharf and then my favorite… people watch. This is where the blast begins for me. I love checking out the fashions, the hats and of course the behavior of the attendees. While I never endorse being inebriated, some people are just not quite balanced when they taste wine. Most people at these events are very well-behaved, but every now and then…. (Sorry no pictures out of respect for the drunk and disorderly.) Only kidding here… we didn’t see a single person who appeared to be uncorked.
- Limit the number of tastings. If you know that last year you were a bit tipsy after tasting 200 wines, then cut back to 100 this year. (That’s a joke, of course!) We stayed on the property and were shuttled back and forth to our room, but whether you are driving or riding, plan ahead to taste a limited number of wines. Having a healthy respect for the harvest will keep the wine lush and prevent you from becoming one. One rule of thumb is to taste less than 25 in a day. Perhaps 10-12 early in the day and the rest later.
- Keep your glass clean. This may seem a little OCD, but it really helps me stay focused on the experience and keeps it fresh and tasty. If you begin to hold your glass by the bowl and not the stem, it might be a signal that you’re getting a little heady. Fingerprints on the bowl are unsightly. There’s water at every table so wash out your glass and wipe the bowl and rim with a napkin. Drink water and eat something before continuing the tasting. Most sommeliers will advise you not to rinse your palate with water as the fluoride can affect the taste of the wine, but I like to rinse my glass first with water and then with the next wine I’m tasting.
- Use a dump bucket. Remember that your taste buds are on your tongue. You do not have to swallow every sip. If you are embarrassed by spitting into a dump bucket, consider carrying your own disposable cup.
- Finish the experience by taking good notes. We usually rate our wines with grades. A. or B. or X. We purchase mostly A’s and some B’s for cooking. An X means that neither of us liked it.
“The hat is the expression of who you are as a women in every moment! The hat is your dreams of who you can be. It facilitates the different parts of who you are: With the wave of the hat, voila! You are mysterious…no, you are sexy…now proper…now playful.”
Men can rock a hat, too!
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” And while I would never drink from a 10-gallon hat, wearing one to the “Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals” proves that wine and fashion make a very happy couple.