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Tasting Room Goes to ProWein

One of the things that sets Tasting Room apart from other wine clubs is our highly selective wine vetting process. The team of wine experts here regularly attends industry conferences and trade shows, as well as tours the vineyards and wineries of our partners, to ensure the highest quality for our members. Just how picky are our somms? Only one in fifty wines tasted is chosen for Tasting Room!

Our head sommelier, Jennifer Ingellis, and I recently ventured to Germany to attend ProWein, the world's leading trade fair for wine. The fair spans three days and several massive halls, featuring wines of every vintage, varietal and region. While at the fair, we tasted from morning to night, sampling more than 480 wines. In the end, Jen selected only nine for our club members!

Even before arriving at ProWein, we mapped out our time carefully, surveying the massive list of attending winemakers and making tasting appointments with dozens of vintners that piqued our interest. We came across many familiar and popular names. Some are producers we've worked with for years, showing off their most recent harvest. Some are potential new partners with interesting varietals, unique winemaking techniques, or a reputation for being the best in their field. Over the course of three days, we spent about an hour with each grower and producer, tasting their wares. Each hour-long tasting included anywhere from eight to 30 wines!

The halls of ProWein are divided between Old World and New World wines. Sunday was completely devoted to the Old World: Portugal, France, Spain and Italy. Monday was all about the New World: Chile, California, Oregon, even Greece and Israel. Armed with a list of what our members love most, we swirled, sipped and spit through dozens of bottles, occasionally stopping to retaste one or two, before finally settling on a particular wine.

In addition to meeting dozens of world-renowned winemakers and sampling hundreds of wines in just a few short days, ProWein is also the place for us to keep our ear to the ground and eyes peeled for wine trends. Some themes we heard repeated over and over: the impact of the challenging harvest in 2017 on the wine world; the resurgence of regional pride; the rising popularity of Port with younger, more sophisticated wine drinkers. All this is important, as it tells us that we need to source quickly and efficiently to lock in the low prices and high quality our club members expect because the market is much tighter after an internationally difficult harvest.

Soon it'll be your turn to taste the cream of the crop that we found at ProWein. In particular, you'll find regional-specific varietals that are shining examples of terroir. We're also eager to introduce a new generation of wine drinkers to the rich and storied classic that is Port. It's no longer the syrupy wine your grandpa drank at Thanksgiving!

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