BY: WINE DUDE
The plan is simple: Pay money, eat snacks, get your drink on. We’re in festival season. Well, that’s year-round I suppose, but here are five to consider over the next several months:
1. Ice Miller Wine Fest: Feb. 28, Historic Union Station at the Crowne Plaza, 123 W. Louisiana St.
This is a fantastic party, with a good spread of food. When this article went to press, there were still tickets available through Kahn’s, but if you want to go to this, I’d hop on it. Don’t stress if you can’t swing the three-figure premier tag; there’s a ton of great stuff on the floor, including some local wines that will surprise you with their deliciousness. The festival benefits WFYI, our local public radio station.
Consider leaving your coat in the car, as the coat check lines were brutally long last year. Tickets are $50 and $120 for the pricier wines upstairs. No designated-driver discount. Go to www.wfyi.org for more information.
2. Elegant Vintages International Wine Auction: March 15, Conrad Hotel, 50 W. Washington St.
Tickets aren’t cheap, $175 to $325, and there’s no designated driver pricing. If you’re a well-heeled collector, you’ll want to attend. While not strictly a wine tasting, there are some nice bottles poured during the dinner-time auction with a great variety of bottles offered. All proceeds benefit the Indianapolis Zoo. Go to www.indyzoo.com and click on special events for more information.
3. Vintage Indiana: June 7, Military Park, 601 W. New York St.
This outdoor event is a blast. If you don’t drink, buy a designated driver pass for $10, eat tasty food truck grub and listen to awesome musicians like Jennie Devoe. Tickets are $25-$50. Go to www.vintageindiana.com for more information.
4. Phoenix Theater’s Brew HaHa: Look for info as the event gets closer, but it will probably be on June 21.
I know, it’s not wine, but I love beer. This festival isn’t the biggest in town, but it’s my favorite. Crowded as heck, and a maybe a little rowdy by the end, there are some fantastic brews every year, and it keeps getting better. Tickets are typically in the $30-$40 range, with special designated driver pricing. Got to http://www.phoenixtheatre.org for more information
5. Dig In: Aug. 24, White River State Park, 801 W. Washington St.
Most of the top chefs in town are there to show off, but it can be tough for the vegetarian to find something to eat. Many chefs will make you a special item if you ask. There’s good local wine and even better beer. Honestly, I’d buy the cheapest ticket, eat a big breakfast, and spend the time hanging out with friends as you wait in the long lines. Ticket prices haven’t been announced, but last year, general admission tickets cost $40. Go to http://digindiana.org for more information.Festival tips and etiquette Now some tips for attending these types of festivals:
- I can’t stress my first point enough: Have fun, get loopy if you want, but don’t drive. Don’t make the news by plowing into a fire hydrant, or worse, hitting people. Walk to a nearby hotel or get a ride.
- Leave your Britney Spears perfume at home. Snobbishness isn’t my nature, but lots of people come to smell the wine, not you. Perfumes and colognes at a wine event are like wearing a giant view-blocking hat into a crowded movie theater.
- When you’re at the front of a line, ask a quick question if you want, but a busy tasting queue isn’t the time to blather to the server about your last three trips to French Lick. In other words, be more New York, less Hoosier. Take your pour, step aside, keep the lines moving.