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SoBeFest: Readers, fans tell us how they liked it

                                                                 George      Lovin’ it: George Larrauri, Whitney Romey and Caroline Rosen, l-r, of Miami, were smiling through the heat at the Publix Grand Tasting Tent at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

        “Everything is well organized, and the view is beautiful, said Larrauri. "And the wines are great."

         The trio liked the Friday night BubbleQ event too. Romey had her picture taken with Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis, and Rosen had hers taken with Al Roker. Even Rosen agreed Giada was the prettiest.

     All through the weekend, the Wine Beneath the Palms blog has been asking readers for their opinions of the wine festival – in person and by e-mail.  They've been eager to give them:

      “I know it’s not their fault, but it’s too hot out here to drink wine,” said Dan Cardwell, 60, of Minneapolis, where it was below zero over the weekend. He got a moment of relief. Coming on a three-foot-tall plastic bucket of Evian Water and ice, he plunged his arm all the way to the bottom and took his time retrieving a bottle of aitch two oh.

      “The wine selection here is really mediocre,” said Tom Glassman, a Long Island banker, who has a 3,000-bottle cellar at home. “For $187.50 I expected really the top stuff.  And this is all $10 or $15 grocery store wine. I think they really need to upgrade this next year.”

      Maria Cruzman, a secretary from Westchester, liked the pomegranate vodka. “Probably even good for me. Maybe I’ll drink it for breakfast.”

      “I’m a chardonnay person. It’s all I drink,” said Sally Maldonado, a paralegal from Houston. “I must have tried 30 of them here, so I’m in heaven.”
      Was she spitting?
      “Well, most of the time.”

      Tania di Marco, an executive assistant from Naples, was partial to the malbecs from Argentina.
“I just discovered these. They’re really nice and soft. And they’re cheap. Every malbec I tried here was under $15. I think I’ve found my new house wine.”

      Ed Linauer, a real estate agent from Tulsa, was taken with the Brazilian rum called cachaça.
“I never heard of it. I haven’t seen it in Tulsa.”
      Cachaça, pronounced KA SHA SA, is a lighter, sweeter rum because it's distilled from sugar cane juice, while most other rums are made from molasses.
      Linauer engaged in a lively discussion with those around him about how to make caipirinhas, the Brazilian national drink made with cachaça. Conclusion: “It’s just lime, sugar and cachaça over ice. Simple. I’m gonna teach this to my favorite bartender.”

      “There’s no place to sit down,” was the complaint of Nelson Randall, a computer sales exec from Hartford. “It’s so hot in here, and we’re all drinking alcohol. I need to sit down. Maybe next year I’ll bring a beach chair.”


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This event has turned into a tourist event.
It used to be much better when it was held at FIU.
It's too crowded, too hot, and too amateur. I'd never go anymore.

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