This year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs through November 12, 2018, and we were thankful to have been able to attend during the opening weekend to try out many of the global marketplaces, live music, and of course one of the beverage seminars. For years our trips to Food & Wine consisted of visiting the global marketplaces and not much else. We totally get it if that’s what you usually do, but now that we’ve started branching out we’ve learned that there is so much more to the festival than the food booths alone, like the beverage seminars!
Since we tried one of the beverage seminars last year, we were originally planned on a culinary demonstration or one of the specialty dining offerings instead, but we realized one of the beverage seminars was hosted by Dr. Loosen Wines and we just couldn’t pass up that opportunity! Dr. Loosen makes some of my favorite wines, and while I’m pretty sure Chaz thought I was insane when I suggested flying to Orlando a day early so we could make this seminar, I’m pleased to report that the seminar was full and lots of other guests were just as excited for it as I was.
About the Beverage Seminars
The beverage seminars are separately ticketed events that take place in the Festival Center hosted by a variety of breweries, distilleries, vineyards, and more throughout the festival. At just $17/ticket, we think a seminar is the best value for a ticketed event at the festival. They come with a 45-minute seminar that typically delves into the story of the company, how they create their products, what’s unique about it, etc…
Each seminar also comes with a tasting, and while these are tasting portions so is everything else (for the most part) at the festival, so $17 for the seminar and tasting is really a great deal. If you’re interested in learning more, or are curious about what a seminar on a different kind of beverage is like, check out our post from our first seminar experience with Espirito XVI Cachaça. We suggest getting tickets in advance at tasteepcot.com for your beverage seminar as they do sell out, though you can occasionally find tickets available the day of at the Festival Center so it never hurts to check.
Dr. Loosen Wines Seminar & Tasting
The rep from Dr. Loosen started off the seminar by telling us about Ernst Loosen, who took over ownership of the business which had been in his family for over 200 years in 1988. We learned about his estate, the vineyards and their location within the Mosel, and why Riesling is Dr. Loosen’s wine of choice as well as the history and tradition of Riesling in Germany.
As much as I love Dr. Loosen’s wines (in fact I buy them regularly to have at home from Total Wine–hint if you shop there, you can find them in the German section not the Riesling section!) I never knew the history or what goes into their production so it was fascinating to hear firsthand how these wines are created and what makes them so special. In addition to sharing her knowledge of what makes each different variety of Dr. Loosen unique, the speaker did a wonderful job of explaining what wine-making in the Mosel is like and what laws and regulations, challenges, and specialties only exist in this region.
The seminar culminated in a tasting where I was surprised to learn that I enjoyed the sparkling variety the most (coming from someone who hates soda and only tolerates champagne because carbonation is not my thing). This wine was 100% pure Riesling, and I think that accounted for why I enjoyed it so much. The carbonation was there but not overpowering as most of the taste was still reminiscent of a fresh and fruity Riesling. While tasting this one we also learned that Dr. Loosen’s Sparkling Riesling is made using the Charmat method which basically means a pressurized tank is used during the wine’s second fermentation to keep the bubbles and the original flavor of the wine intact.
We also tried Dr. Loosen’s Blue Slate and Red Slate, with the Blue Slate being the wine I typically have on hand at home. Blue Slate is named for the soil in the villages where the grapes are harvested, which is quite literally made up of blue slate. It’s a light and easy to drink wine with some peachy and floral scents making it perfect for pairing with seafood which is probably why it’s my go-to wine to have in the house. Like Blue Slate, Red Slate is named so for the soils in the vineyards where the grapes are harvested. This was a dryer wine that comes with a more spicy and citrus-y aroma making it better suited for pairing with continental dishes.
For more information…
This seminar was a wonderful way to start our visit to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (it was literally the first thing we did when we arrived in Epcot), and we really can’t recommend both Dr. Loosen and the beverage seminars enough. If you’re new to Riesling or even if you are just getting into wine, I think Dr. Loosen’s Blue Slate is a great place to start. It’s easy to drink and is crisp and refreshing making it a solid introduction to Riesling and white wines in general.
To try Dr. Loosen in Disney you can order a Riesling flight at Biergarten in the Germany pavilion and you can find Blue Slate at many of the resort lounge menus and as some of signature restaurants in the parks and resorts. Outside of the parks I can always find Dr. Loosen at Total Wine and Trader Joe’s, and more information is available on their website at drloosen.com.
It’s helpful to have advance reservations for any of the ticketed events at the festival, which you can make at tasteepcot.com. (Beverage seminars and any of the free demonstrations can fill up quick so it’s best to check for reservations before your trip.)
Find all of our posts on the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival here and let us know in the comments if you’ve had a chance to attend a beverage seminar yet!