Many of the world's greatest winemakers could be found Thursday night in New York's Times Square. They had not gathered to grab a show at the recently reopened theaters of Broadway. Rather, they came to lift glasses and toast being together again. After skipping 2020, the New York Wine Experience returned to the Marriott Marquis Times Square, celebrating the event's 40th anniversary. The three-day event kicked off with the first of two Grand Tastings, as 210 wineries poured some of the world's most coveted wines for consumers, all of them rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator’s editors.
The unspoken toast as glasses of Champagne were raised? We're back.
"It's so good to be here in person, to see everyone together," said Italian wine icon Piero Antinori, who presented his 1997 Solaia as a Wine Star during the weekend's seminars. Over the past 19 months, many vintners have struggled to travel and meet with longtime clients and potential new ones. They've learned to host virtual tastings. They've also learned that there is no substitute for giving someone a fist bump and telling wine lovers face-to-face what makes their wine unique.
One of the best things about the Wine Experience is that winemakers from different parts of the world get to meet: Italian vintner Piero Antinori (left) and Antinori winemaker Renzo Cotarella caught up with California vintner Naoko Dalla Valle and her daughter and winemaker Maya Dalla Valle (right). (Daphne Youree)
There was electricity in the air as attendees headed into two ballrooms. There were also new procedures to navigate, with a strict COVID vaccine mandate in place for large events.