I attended the #winelover anniversary trip to Athens, Greece in February 2016. It was a great opportunity that I found from a friend I made from the International Wine Tourism Conference. The #winelover community is based online, but is pretty simple - we love wine. All are welcomed to join and members include industry, sommeliers, importers, winemakers, and simply wine lovers. I had seen some of the members blog posts, tried some of their wines, and was excited to finally meet some of the members on the trip.
The trip started off with a welcome BYOB dinner at Scala Vinoteca. Scala Vinoteca was the perfect welcome to Athens and to the #winelover community. Every member brought a special bottle of wine. Before coming I heavily debated what I should bring. I asked my friend who is also a #winelover ambassador and specialist. I was concerned that perhaps everyone's bottles would be super rare or high end ($100 or more). She stated it should just be something really interesting or important to me. Therefore, I ended up going with Chester Gap Cabernet France 2012. I have written about my love of Chester Gap and their wines before. It ended up being a big hit! Many people hadn't traveled to America or their travels were limited to New York or other cities. They were incredibly excited to try a Virginia wine and also appreciated my love of promoting local. Others experienced that difficulty in promoting local wines and food especially when at times they may be pricer than others.
The Scala Vinoteca space was somewhat modern with an open kitchen design. Our group took over multiple tables and moved around to socialize. The food was a delicious evolution in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Being part of a large party, we had pre-set menu for the dinner as we did for other meals. Every course was a tasty surprise ranging from vegetarian friendly to meaty delights.
After eating our fill, we returned late to the hotel and continued the after party in the hotel lobby just as R. Kelly sung.