WINETASTE

While we’re fans of just about any type of wine festival (really, you’d have us at merlot), we’re especially excited about the International Winefest at Golden Nugget Atlantic City. With wines from across the globe, this two-day festival is always something special.

“This is our eighth year,” says Alicia Ginn, director of advertising and public relations for Golden Nugget. “It started out as a Cal-Ital event where we had just two countries, then it was up to eight, now we’re at 11.”

“We’ve talked to our vendors and suppliers about what’s important to them to make the selections,” says Kevin Scull, assistant general manager for Golden Nugget Atlantic City. “We want people to be able to try these wines.”

Here are five things you need to know.

How to manage the wine festival. Not sure of the sampling protocol at a wine festival? Not to worry. At the International Wine fest, all participants receive a wine passport to guide them through the festival. Even better, the passport serves as a record of what you liked and didn’t like. So when you’ve safely Ubered home and can’t remember the name of that lovely Riesling you vowed never to forget, you can refer back to your passport and request it (or find it) at your local liquor store.

Where on earth is this wine from? The international wine fest is truly international, featuring wines from 11 different countries including the United States, Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. The sheer scope of the festival means participants can sample a selection of varietals — and in bigger wine producing countries, a selection of vineyards as well — from all around the world. All under one roof.

Nothing says champagne like Friday night. Both days of the event feature wine sampling from across the globe, but there are some differences. The Friday night event, held on the fifth floor Event Lawn with only the stars and the night air above it, feels more like a tasting party, complete with music from Giant Steps Ahead, a selection of wines from Saturday’s full event and a French champagne bar with over a dozen champagnes to sample. Champagne can be intimidating, and there aren’t a lot of tasting opportunities, so making the champagne bar alone worth the price of the ticket.

Saturday night comes with a host of specials. If you’re looking to up your wine game, Saturday night’s Grand Tasting in the Grand Ballroom is a must. Not only will the full selection of international wines will be available for sampling, but brand ambassadors will be on hand to answer all of your questions. This is a great night to make the most of your passport, and get all the information you can about each wine so you can impress your friends with your knowledge. While you’re sipping, sampling and listening to the tunes of Giant Steps Ahead, you can celebrate, knowing you’ll leave with $75 worth of specials. “The fun doesn’t stop that night,” says Ginn. “You can come back, use these offers, and celebrate with us again.”

Come hungry. The ticket prices include food. Plus a glass. In addition to your wine passport, guests receive a wine class upon entry and loads of munchies to enhance your wine experience. On Friday evening, you can look forward to fresh seasonal fruits and berries, assorted Italian meats and international cheeses with gourmet mustards, bruschetta, hummus and watermelon, mint, feta and strawberry skewers. And on Saturday come extra hungry for antipasto, chicken and apple chutney on pita chips, pear and stilton cheese wrapped with prosciutto, pepper crusted beef satay, pan seared scallop corn cake with roasted pepper coulis and shrimp scampi primavera.

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