Back in 2008, the Wine School was growing super-fast, and I was hungry for more. There were many wine shows at that time (they were super-popular), and I had run a few of them, including one for the Food Network.
All I can say is that it was an awesome experience, but it also convinced me to stay in the classroom. I originally wrote this article a few weeks after the wine show. Outside of a few edits, I left it alone.
After months of preparation, my very first super-humongous-extra-special-deluxe wine show opened. By all accounts, it was a huge success. This is good because I would have been extra-grumpy for MONTHS if it had tanked.
Thousands of wine lovers visited our very own wine trade show in lovely (cough, cough) Atlantic City. A few well-connected friends pointed out that our event was better attended than a similar event held during Philly Mag’s “Philly Wine Week.”
Special thanks to all the wineries & distributors who showed their wines at the festival. Some of the highlights were Vezer Family Vineyards, Robert Hall Winery, Wonderful Ethnic Imports, American BD Wine Merchants, Castello Delle Regine, Terranova Imports, and GrapeVine Imports.
We offered wine seminars featuring the best and brightest wine educators in the region during the three-day festival. Eight of our certified wine instructors gave talks, and every one of their seminars was delivered to a standing-room-only audience.
While our staff spoke and poured wine to the large trade show audience, our intrepid Beth Case kept the barbarian hordes at the gate. Well, she made sure none of them got in without a wine glass. She’s good like that.
During the Premiere Wine Show in Atlantic City, my job-along with stressing about every detail– was to spot the VIPs coming through the front door. I was kept pretty busy since the event was well attended by representatives from regional wine distributorships, shops, and PR Firms. We expect many wineries and import companies to be awarded new distribution deals because of the event.
I want to thank everyone, especially the Wine School volunteers, for an incredibly successful show. Now it’s time to start getting ready for next year…
I never did another show like this again. It was largely about the money. I had spent six months planning this wine show. What I didn’t do is properly read the contract. I trusted the person who brought me in to create the wine festival.
Lesson learned: I ended up in the red, but I learned an important lesson. Always read the contract. And overly friendly people who want to do business with you are really not to be trusted.