Thursday, September 18, 2008

Report from ... Shores of Erie International Wine Festival – September 6, 2008

I am happy to report that the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival has expanded. This year they took over new areas of Fort Malden, kinda like an invasion (to use the war vernacular which seems appropriate for the venue): a second stage was added, they expanded the food choices, and some of the wineries opened a second booths to allow themselves more and better access to and for their customers. Saturday night was the usual hoping time and the double-booth experiment proved to be a boon to those wineries that took advantage of it. And while the second stage gave attendees more access to entertainment and the freedom to move around and see more of what they wanted to see, it proved to be a drawback when it came time for those who gave seminars in the tent directly across from it. Seminar organizers were told this stage would be an acoustic or “place for those who want a more relaxed quieter time” – but it proved to be just as loud as the main stage. Last year guest speakers competed with a main stage 100 yards away and around the corner, this year they competed directly with a stage less than 100 feet away and directly in front of them, blasting music right into the tent ... this gave new meaning to the word miscommunication: people weren’t sure whether I was talking about rosés (pink wine) of roses (the flower); and I know other speakers had similar issues. Hopefully in their second year of having this stage they can vet the bands a little better – a guy with an acoustic guitar is good, smooth jazz ensemble also good, five piece rock band … probably not the best choice for this stage; or maybe reserve the music on this stage till after the seminars.

As for my impressions of the festival in general, there are some things I’ll admit and others I keep to myself, as the old saying goes: only my hairdresser knows for sure, but this I will admit to you freely – I did not have a chance to get around and see much of this year’s Shores of Erie Festival. Sure I was at the dinner the previous night, and yes I gave two seminars (to packed houses might I add), but I didn’t get around to many of the food and winery booths. Yes I tried some scrumptious egg rolls and stir-frys, sipped on some delicious wines and spoke to a lot of people, but I didn’t get the full feel of the event like I have in previous years. That’s why I decided to ask a number of folks that approached me after my talks. They seemed to all have very positive things to say, they were either having a “fabulous”, “incredible” and/or “wonderful” time, and that can’t all be attributed to me and my wonderful speaking and showmanship abilities. The Shores of Erie Festival continues to be one of my favourite events of the year – in fact I’m already booked in for next year … so they must like me too.

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