Tasting Trolley & Grand Tasting Tent Event (Associated with Coastal Uncorked)

photo 1 - Copy (2)After a fun night of Brews ‘N the Boulevard, Karen and I were excited to enjoy a delicious day of wine tasting and adventure.  We arrived at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center where volunteers scanned our tickets and handed us a map noting each of the 8 stops during the day.  Although we weren’t able to find much information, we concluded that we would be given some food and an alcoholic beverage at each stop along the way; the main attraction was stop number 5—the Grand Tasting Tent.

Karen and I excitedly boarded the trolley (one of only two—the rest were charter buses) which took us to New South Brewing, a local microbrewery which has been operating in Myrtle Beach since 1998.  We were given a tour of the facility, where we learned about the beer making process beginning with the four main ingredients: barley, hops, yeast, and water, and ending with a few tasty samples—a nut brown ale and a white ale.  I was surprised by how quickly the process can be completed—some lighter beers can be finished in as little as ten days!  We also watched as our guide demonstrated how they fill their cans—one can at a time—with a piece of fancy equipment whose name I can’t quite recall.  We were told two men operate the machine, and that they can fill about 26 cases each day!  After our tour and tastings, we were offered some bratwurst with sour kraut and sent on our way.

We boarded the trolley and ended up at the Grand Tasting Tent.  We knew there was a plethora of wine options (over photo 4 - Copy (2)100!), so we decided to check out some of the other stops before indulging ourselves with copious amounts of wine.  We jumped on a charter bus and made our way to the Breakers Resort, where we enjoyed a tropical drink (a bay breeze, maybe?) and some delicious sliders—I enjoyed a burger with blue cheese, onion straws, bacon, and A-1, and Karen had a chicken sandwich topped with blue cheese and an onion ring.

Next, we headed to the Caribbean Resort where we listened to tropical music and enjoyed a delightful view of the beach.  We were served a spicy Caribbean BBQ sandwich, baked beans, a refreshing watermelon skewer, and sweet tea.  Because of transportation issues, Karen and I hurried to get back on the bus and ended up missing out on the alcoholic beverage (don’t worry… we ended the day with plenty!).  After realizing that waiting for the bus was taking up more time than we had anticipated (the event was only from 11am – 6pm), we decided to check out the Grand Tasting Tent.

Upon arrival, we were given wine glasses with the Coastal Uncorked logo on them.  Although we knew we wouldn’t be able to try all 100 wines, we sure did make an effort!  Just to be clear, the vendors weren’t giving us those one ounce samples you get at most wine tastings; they were filling our glasses at least half way full!  Karen and I enjoy different wines (I’m more of a sweet red girl, she likes light, dryer whites), which worked out well because we were able to enjoy our favorites while trying sips of new wines we might not normally taste.

photo 4 - CopyOne of my favorite wines was a Capitel de’ Roari Amarone Luigi Righetti.  The vender for this particular wine was extremely knowledgeable and described what made it unique—the grapes are dried before beginning the fermentation process which retains the sweetness and flavor of the grapes while increasing the alcohol content.  In case that previous assessment makes me sound like a wine snob, my other favorite wine was a Strawberry Bellini from a can, and I have no idea where it was made.  And I’m okay with that, because it was refreshing and delicious.

Karen and I had such a good time at the Grand Tasting Tent, we decided to skip the other stops.  We were both happy with our decision; we were able to listen to some great music (played by Sushi for Breakfast) while making new friends and having great conversations.  Overall, we had a great day and I’m really glad we were able to participate.  Although it was nice to visit some of the stops, Karen and I decided to just do the Grand Tasting Tent next year; it’s definitely worth the money!

Cost: $35/ticket.  Only 1,500 tickets available each year.

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