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Wine South Festival: September 15-17, Atlanta, GA

winesouth.jpgIt's easy to get jaded about big wine and food events when they happen all the time. Throw a dart at a calendar and chances are there's a wine tasting or food event on the day you hit in San Francisco, Chicago, or New York. But other parts of the country don't have quite the surfeit of organizations and societies focused exclusively on wine that exist in the aforementioned cities. Or perhaps they just have more sense than to spend every weekend celebrating wine. After all, there are other things to celebrate.

However, every major city should have at least one big wine festival a year, and if you live anywhere near Atlanta, Georgia, the time has come. On the weekend of September 15th, "the ATL" plays host to Wine South, the largest wine and food festival in the South.

The weekend event begins with a Reserve Tasting dinner at the new Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead. Saturday, the Grand Tasting takes place at The Gwinnett Convention Center in the Perimeter, starting with a few seminars for those interested in learning from the experts, and then when the doors open, a full day of cooking demonstrations, the chance to taste a huge selection of wines, more seminars, and a silent auction for charity. Of course, there's also tons of food to be had in the form of small nibbles from restaurants and purveyors who have set up shop for the tasting. On Sunday the tasting continues for members of the trade and media.

I've spent a great deal of time in Atlanta on business, and done quite a bit of eating out and wine drinking, and I can say with certainty that anyone who enjoys wine and wants a chance to taste a lot of new things will be well served by attending -- many of the wines and wineries pouring at the event are extremely hard to find in Atlanta stores and restaurants.

Wine South 2006
Friday September 15th - Sunday, September 17th, 2006
Grand Tasting 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Gwinnett Convention Center
6400 Sugarloaf Parkway,
Duluth, GA 30097

Grand tasting tickets are $80 in advance and $100 the day of the event. The Reserve Tasting tickets are purchased separately for $165 per person and will likely sell out in the next 48 hours. Tickets can be purchased online.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.