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Oct 31, 201808:05 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Something (Completely) Different



The logical topic for today is pretty obvious. But by this time, you are likely either fully planned for Halloween, are well into your celebrations and costuming, or have decided to just go about your routine, well tired of the faux “scary” trappings associated with the last day of October.

In the interest of moving on, let’s simply move on. For those who can’t get enough Halloween, forgive us. For those completely “over it,” you are welcome.

Today, we are going to talk about wine tasting. Not the broad topics of seeing, swirling, sipping, savoring and spitting. Nope, we are going to focus on a new event in New Orleans that is pretty much like nothing this city has experienced. Oh sure, that grabbed your interest.

A dining destination city, like New Orleans, must continually make statements. Other places are not sitting back, resting on laurels, and leaving their fates to inertia, otherwise lazily known as reputation.

While we have been through experiences more than most, and we are older than most, the “what have you done lately” questions crop up easily. Importantly, as we strive to progress just to keep up with the competition, we also need to make new statements about capabilities and happenings.

We have done an excellent job of creating destination activities. Really, who can compete with Carnival or French Quarter Fest or JazzFest? Those are amazing events. Then we have added to those attention-grabbing happenings a bevy of festivals.  Around here, most weekends are literally covered with celebrations honoring historical activities, foods and crops, and various sections of town.

Ya’ can’t step outside your door without hearing the music, noshing on a special culinary creation, or joining in the Second Line. Makes you wonder why anyone lives anyplace else.

But building that reputation as a unique and fun place, then maintaining the buzz, is not a sometimes thing. Large segments of people from all over the world are not providing accolades or acknowledgements in our direction simply because they are nice folks. They are but this is not the case.

New Orleans has earned, with our history and lifestyle, a world-wide reputation as a grand place to dine, listen, or have a party. Those of us who are here are perfectly comfortable with that concept and we are adding to our repertoire every day.

That’s where the New Orleans International Wine Awards and Consumer Wine Tasting comes into play, literally.

The first activity of the International Wine Awards is just that: awards. An all-star roster of professional wine judges from all areas of the United States will come to town and evaluate more than 500 wines from around the world which have been submitted. The judges will have to bring their “A game” for two days of tasting and evaluations. Winners will be determined in more than 100 defined categories.

Then on Thursday, Nov. 8, four of our community’s grandest restaurants – Arnaud’s, Antoine’s, Brennan’s and Galatoire’s – will host a simultaneous wine tasting of the wines that were entered into the competition. Beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, guests, at their own pace, can stroll from restaurant to restaurant tasting whatever they would like from the 500+ wines that will be on the tables.

The cost is $80 for a three-hour tasting, unlimited as to quantity and uninterrupted by speeches, educational lectures or other distractions. The happy business of wine-tasting, however you wish to do it, will be front and center.

Tickets are only available at www.nolainternationalwine.com. There is a limit on the number of attendees.


(In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the organizers of this event.)





Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails, every month in New Orleans Magazine.



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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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