(Almost) Getting Drunk At The Grand Wine Festival

Where can you try six different award-winning wines for $20? 

In the Lath Pavilion at Heritage Square, just across from the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus at the Grand Wine Festival!

The tasting and marketplace event on January 26 and 27 attracted many wine-lovers to taste award winning wines from Arizona’s four wine growing regions, including Verde Valley, Sonoita, and Wilcox.

After an ID check, visitors who did not get tickets in advance were led to the ticket booth where they could choose between two options: paying $20 for six tickets’ worth of wine tastings, or shelling out an additional $5 for a total of six tickets’ worth of wine tastings. Visitors could also opt to purchase a non-wine tasting admission ticket at the booth. For a rookie at wine-tastings like me, six tickets were more than enough to try out the many varieties of wines available at the booths and a commemorative wine glass was also given to visitors!

Food trucks and vendors were available to offer food and drinks to visitors at reasonable prices and according to the Arizona Wine Growers Association, more than 30 wineries poured over 150 wines at the event. 

One of the vendors had also put up a few charts for display, listing a range of wine colors and flavors with vivid descriptions like “sweet tobacco,” and “cat’s pee.”

“I wouldn’t recommend trying the ‘cat’s pee’,” joked one visitor, before he moved on to the next booth.

Besides food and drinks, a live band provided entertainment for most of the afternoon to rows of empty white plastic chairs. People were mostly seeking shelter from the sweltering heat under the shade of the Pavilion. Had the weather been more amiable, the people would have stopped to watch the performances.

Workshops were held at the event, though the exact location of the workshops or the timings they were available at were a little muddy to me, (or was that because of the wine?)

An online raffle was conducted every hour, and my two lucky friends each brought a free bottle of wine home from the raffle that day. Each bottle was worth at least $40. 

As a poor drinker, I was starting to feel “the buzz” after my fourth glass of wine. By the time I exchanged my last ticket for my sixth glass, I was ready to go home.

I ended up falling asleep on the Light Rail on the way back to campus that afternoon, content from a day of satisfying my wine-loving taste buds.

The next wine-tasting event by the Arizona Wine Growers Association is the “Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival," which will be happening on Saturday, February 17, at the Historic Steam Pump Ranch, from 11am to 6pm. Advanced ticket sales are available at Eventbrite.com

I am Samara Gan. I am an exchange student from Singapore who just moved to Arizona for the Spring semester. I am a third-year Communications major with an interest in Journalism and Media Studies. I hope to write articles that will be helpful, relatable, and joyful to readers. 

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