Lines Stop the Stroll at Savor Dallas 2011

There are a few things that one can expect when going to a wine tasting, mainly that they will taste wine…perhaps with a tasty bite.  Not that extraordinary, if anything quite elemental.  Unfortunately this years Savor Dallas Wine Stroll through the Arts District didn’t deliver this expectation.

The evening was perfect for a stroll through the Arts District, with this being the first time some patrons have visited the Winspear, Meyerson, Nasher or DMA. Patrons had a difficult time enjoying their surroundings as most of their evening consisted of standing in line, some of which were 40-50 people deep.  The stroll started at The Meyerson, where guests could pick up with passes enjoy their first glass.  Trying to weed through the crowd was unbearable so we moved on to The Nasher, thinking that the first venue was so crowded due to it being the hub of activity.  Things were not better there, and though the surroundings in their sculpture garden were beautiful and serene, who could tell when the focus was to stand in a line with dozens of other people waiting for a sip of wine. What was at the end of the line was unknown, the necessity was to be in a line to be able to try something.  Seventeen Seventeen at the DMA was one big circle of people going from one tasting station to the next, with patrons exclaiming “they are in line” to anyone trying to join the circle from outside.  The Winspear may have been the best, as they spread their tasting stations throughout the lobby, but long lines still prevailed.

Brian Luscher Prepares Pork Rillettes (Photo Courtesy of Andrew Chalk)

A few highlights for the evening included a Bertani Valpolicella and Saletein Malbec, both poured by Palm Bay Imports inside The Winspear; a blood orange cocktail with Dripping Springs Vodkafrom Dripping Springs, Texas that we managed to grab while the guest in line was distracted taking pictures; and an amazing bite of Pork Rillette from Brian Luscher of The Grape that we enjoyed in exchange for bringing the very busy Chef a Stella Artois and Pellegrino.

I agree with the report on the event Andrew Chalk posted this morning that perhaps a better way to manage the crowd is to offer a glass of something when a guest walks through the door, instead of an empty glass that they then take to a line to get a tasting.  I sympathize with the wineries in attendance.  By the time you got to the front of a line you just wanted to taste something, and they want to share the story of the wine and where it comes from.  Perhaps designating several people to pour at each station, with the winery representative standing to the side to answer questions and speak about the wine to interested guests would be a better way to manage the crowd.  And, in the end, just having more options available in each venue.

I am a big fan of Savor Dallas.  It is one of the most notable wine events in the country, with fantastic wineries coming to our city to celebrate the festivities and introduce patrons to their wine.  It is amazing to see how much it has grown in the past seven years due to the hard work of founders Jim White and Vicki Briley-White, and the crowd of guests last night showed that.  Unfortunately this crowd overshowded the joy in the evening.  Here is to hoping that tonight’s International Grand Tasting is better.

Concannon Poured America's First Petite Sirah at The Savor Dallas Stroll (Photo Courtesy of Andrew Chalk)

5 comments on “Lines Stop the Stroll at Savor Dallas 2011

  1. You are absolutely correct: We had a two year supply of people at the Wine Stroll. We have learned our lesson and vow to take the Arts District Wine Stroll at Savor Dallas back to what made it popular: Next year we will limit ticket sales, as we have done in the past, and the number of free tickets given away, so that the facilities, the wineries, and our valued guests are not overwhelmed. We were very distressed about the long lines. Our apologies to those who were disappointed. Thanks for your support and confidence.

  2. This is something I have tried to do since the beginning and 1st time I could actually attend and was so looking forward to it. Beautiful weather and a perfect evening.We started at the Winspar since we parked below and it was lovely and then we headed to the DMA and it was HORRIBLE! Lines were so long and we were told most already out of wine so we headed to Nasher and came across same thing and then to last venue, which was even worse. We paid full price unlike so many there which was obvious by there attire. So extremely disapointed in what was to be a fun night and I really feel for the Vineyards and Restaurants who put so much time and money into it. Who’s great idea to give away free tickets and why did we have to pay full price for maybe 1 glass of wine! Shame on Savor Dallas for ruining what would have been a perfect stroll. We were going to attend Saturday nights event but was so disgusted that a group of 6 of us canceled.
    Why not try to do something like this once or twice a month and let us Dallasites see what Dallas has to offer in the Arts District and not make it a “free booze” for those who don’t appreciate nice wines.
    I had so many friends there volunteering and they were disgusted by it all and probably won’t volunteer again.
    I hate to hate but you really need to know how disgusted we all were with it.

    Sincerly,
    Donna Osterman and Michael McCoy

  3. Glad to hear it will be different next year. It was indeed a very disappointing mess. Chef Luscher’s rillette was a highlight for sure.

  4. This Is Just To Say: Ode to Luscher’s Beer (ala William Carlos Williams)

    I drank the Stellas
    that were in
    the ice chest

    and which
    you were probably
    saving
    for later

    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so bubbly
    and so cold