Holiday Grand Tasting (2006)

(sans camera, pics courtesy of Hyatt)

Last night, local Hoboken business Sparrow Wine and Liquor sponsored the Eleventh Annual Holiday Grand Tasting to benefit FAITH Services, which provides innovative and comprehensive medical and social services to individuals affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.


It was estimated that more than 500 people attended the event held in the Manhattan Ball Room of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Jersey City waterfront, overlooking New York City.


In years past the event has sold out, however, this year tickets could still be purchased at the door for $65 during the event held from 7 – 10 pm. The event featured over 500 wines and spirits from all over the world and food from some of the area’s finest restaurants. A detailed listing wine and spirits featured was available in the program guide and many people were taking notes regarding what they preferred. Some of the more noteworthy items to sample included Bruichladdich 20 year old scotch that retails for $169 a bottle, Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 that retails for $116, and Bollinger Brut Champagne NV that retails for $53 a bottle.

A limited variety of food was provided by area restaurants which included La Isla, Charrito’s, Margherita’s, Mikie Squared, Edward’s Steakhouse, Zafra’s, Cucharamama, and Anthony David’s Gourmet Specialties. The lines for food were long so many ventured directly toward the overwhelming yet tantalizing amount of wines and spirits that filled the ballroom. Those that passed by the food tables earlier were disappointed as many restaurants ran out of food and stopped serving around 8:15 pm, not long after the event began.

The weather prohibited patrons from venturing outside on the spacious balcony to enjoy a more close up view of the spectacular New York City skyline. However, the scenery could still be enjoyed and admired from the floor to ceiling glass windows inside the ballroom. Light music was also provided by Joe Herbek, playing sensual Brazilian bossa nova and samba. Getting to the event was a breeze by taking either the light rail, PATH or ferry to Exchange Place, as no one attending the event should have been driving given how freely the alcohol was flowing.


Wine distributors and event staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time and although crowded, it was never difficult to sample any of the featured items. Perhaps the only thing the event lacked was its oversight to provide any non alcoholic beverages, such as water, for people who needed something refreshing to drink.

Compared to the Taste of Hoboken which was more of a culinary feast of food, the Holiday Grand Tasting was more for the wine enthusiast crowd. Since both events benefit charities you could not go wrong attending either. I definitely plan to make sure I support each of these events again next year.

Thanks to Meighan Meeker of Simply Put Organizational Solutions for the review!!


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Nice. Edwards Steakhouse ROCKS!!! Awesome food–yes, I know it is Jersey City-but it is well worth the trip!!!!!