EATS, DRINKS + CELEBRATE | Learn how to make the most of swirling, sipping, and savoring a glass of wine, just in time for the Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival PLUS our Strawberry Wine Cooler recipe

The 15th Annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival returns to the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront on Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7.

Spend a spring weekend at Town Point Park sampling a variety of more than 200 wines from Virginia’s premier wineries. 

Named one of the top food and drink festivals in the country by Business Insider, the event, hosted by Norfolk Festevents, is one of the region’s most anticipated wine festivals. 

Here more than 25 of Virginia’s top wineries pour their best vintages against the beautiful Elizabeth River.

Enjoy gourmet foods, specialty merchants, live music, and more. 

All wines presented during the festival are available for purchase by the bottle or case throughout each day.

Planning to the 15th Annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival ? Here’s some of my top tips for making the most enjoying that glass of wine that l that I’ve developed over my quarter century experience in food and wine:


We’ve all seen folks do it; swirl a glass of wine, stick their nose down in it, and take a delicate little sip before declaring it magnifique. Well, you don’t have to be quite that dramatic, but there are ways to swirl and sip to fully enjoy a glass of wine. Here’s how:

1. Hold the wine glass up to light and look at it. Is it clear and clean or cloudy with sediment?

2. Hold the wine glass up against a white background, like a sheet of paper. Is the color typical of that varietal? Start taking notes of the different hues that you see so you’ll recognize if a color is typical for that type.

3. Keep a tasting log – either a notebook or on an app on your smartphone – and include three or four colors you see. Use terms that resonate with you, like “buttery yellow” or “bright lavender.”

4. Swirl the wine glass around just a little bit – not much. Get some air down into the wine. Now bring the glass up to your nose and smell. Like with the color, is the aroma typical of that varietal?

5. As with looking at the wine’s color, take notes so you’ll have a reference as to the aromas produced by different wines. In your tasting log, include three or four notes you pick up, again with terms you understand, like “ripe cherry” or “floral.”

6. Swirl the wine glass around again and take a small sip. Hold it on your tongue a minute. Consider the body of the wine. Is it appropriate for the varietal type?

7. When thinking about body, consider these guidelines: a light bodied wine feels in your mouth a bit like skim milk does – that same weight. Likewise, a medium bodied wine can mimic the body of whole milk, while a full-bodied wine is reminiscent of the weight of heavy cream in the mouth. Take note in your tasting journal as to the wine’s body.

8. Swirl slightly again and take another small sip, breathing in as you do. Notice the flavors, and if the wine is pleasant. Take note in your tasting log, and write down three or four tastes you pick up with words and phrases that mean something to you, like “smoky” or “lemon zest.”

9. After swirling again, have another sip. Think about the taste of the wine after you’ve swallowed it. Did the flavor linger, or taper off? Did the finish end abruptly. Was there any harshness or off flavors? Write down your observations in your tasting log.

10. As you finish the wine, make notes about your overall impressions then, while they are fresh in your mind. Did you enjoy it, or not? And why? How would you serve the wine – with food or perhaps out by the pool on its on? If you poured it with a meal, what dishes do you think would go with it? 


Got that bottle of vino home and want to make a special drink to share with family and friends? Try my Strawberry Wine Cooler, which makes the most of that most amazing seasonal berry.

Here’s how to:

First macerate some fresh strawberries: Wash and pat dry 2 pints of fresh strawberries. Hull the berries, cut in half or quarters, and place in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Mariner. Still until combined. Refrigerate, stirring with a fork occasionally overnight, or a minimum of 4 hours. 

Next, assemble the cocktail: Place a large spoonful of macerated strawberries with some juice in the bottom of a large wine glass. Fill the glass three-quarters full with a crisp, white wine and pour in a few slashes of seltzer water. 

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