In today’s world a glass of wine is a relaxing way to end a day, a means to celebrate, or a compliment to a great meal. Wine has been around for thousands of years and, next to water, it is the oldest beverage known to mankind. This delectable libation is produced around the world and is renowned for its beautiful colors, its sweet fragrances, and its diverse flavors. With so many types and variations of wine, finding the ones that you enjoy can be tricky. Don’t worry, thanks to its increasing popularity wine tastings and wine pairing dinners have become a global phenomenon, and St. Croix is no exception.
Today more than ever wine is revered, showcased, and celebrated as a combination of art, science, and history. Wine tastings and wine pairings have become more mainstream and allow everyone the opportunity to learn about the wine making process, the flavor profiles, and how to harness the ability of wine to make the properly paired foods taste even better. Even here on the small island of St. Croix, wine has become a star. You can find a huge variety of wines to choose from at local resorts, bars, restaurants, and even the grocery stores – the difficult part is deciding what to buy. This is where the wine tastings become very useful (not to mention enjoyable).
Here on St. Croix, we have several wine distributors, restaurants, and a market that host wine tastings. At these wine tastings you are generally given a total of four different wines to try, one glass at a time. With each glass, the host will tell you the name and type of wine, a little bit about the wine’s producer, and the type of grapes used to produce the wine. They will then describe the different flavor notes you should be tasting (these include things like cherries, oak, coffee, citrus, etc.), and suggest what the foods that the wine pairs with the best. Between wines, you will often get a bite of something delicious to cleanse your palette. Or, in the case of wine pairing events, you will be offered a small plate with your wine and the host will describe the flavors in the wine and why they pair so well with the food on your plate. These events will help you to find the right wines the next time you are shopping for yourself, as a gift, or to pair with your favorite dishes.
There are currently several places offering wine tastings around St. Croix. Perhaps the longest running monthly wine pairing event can be found at the scenic Beach Side Café on the West End of the island, where you can enjoy your wine tasting while watching the sunset over the Caribbean. Zion Modern Kitchen is currently offering themed monthly wine tasting events in their beautiful courtyard setting in historic Christiansted. Also in downtown Christinasted, balter offers themed specialty wine tastings with delicious farm-to-table food pairings. Seaside Market & Deli in Gallows Bay hosts a monthly wine club at their store on the last Thursday of each month. Membership to the Seaside Market wine club is free, and small plates are offered while wines are being tasted. Divi Carina Bay Casino has also joined the wine tasting ‘circuit’ by offering monthly wine tastings at the casino, where you can meet and mingle with friends and enjoy complimentary appetizers. Make sure to check our Calendar of Events for upcoming wine tastings.
As the saying goes, wine is the ‘Nectar of the Gods’…but why limit it to them? You can learn to pick up on wines subtle flavors, identify the type of wine by taste, and pair them like a pro. No trip to Europe or Napa Valley is necessary, you can imbibe in wine tastings right here in America’s paradise. Partake in a good, crisp white with some locally caught seafood, indulge in some ice cold bubbly at the beach, or find just the right full-bodied red to accompany a delicious steak in one of the island’s fine restaurants. Whatever your personal preference, take advantage of these wine tastings to learn to appreciate and truly enjoy wine. Remember to wine a little (or a lot), you’ll feel better!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor