We get asked for recommendations on which competitions and industry events our off-shore clients should participate in and attend, so I’ve compiled a list with some of the key dates and links. These are posted roughly in order of their deadlines or event dates.

-NY Wine Expo: Feb. 26-28 at the Jacob Javitz center (I’ll be there)

-South Beach Wine and Food Festival Event Feb. 25-28, 2010

-San Francisco Wine and Spirits Competition
Event Mar 13-14. Deadline for entries Feb. 19

-Ultimate Spirit Challenge (judging takes place March 1-3 in NY, and Ultimate Cocktail Challenge (judging takes place April 12-14 at Astor Center in NY but entry deadline is Feb. 15. These are two new events which split from the SFWSC. They represent a new concept in spirit review methodologies and also a new contest specifically dedicated not just to spirits but the cocktails that are made with them.

-BTI Eastern European wines deadline March 25.

-Wine and Spirits Wholesaler Assn. WSWA takes place April 6-8 in Las Vegas Nevada. This used to be an “old boy networking” event but has evolved in the last few years to be more egalitarian. The exhibit floor used to be a minor adjuinct but now has become much more significant. It’s not the answer for exporters looking to find importers in the U.S., but it’s a good start.

-Winery and Wine Distribution Law: April 29,30, Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, NY. This is the third of these beverage alcohol law seminars hosted by Nixon Peabody that I’ve spoken at. They attract a stellar list of attendees and speakers including Craig Wolf of WSWA, a senior staffer at TTB, Ted Jansen of Inertia Beverage, Bill Tomaszewski of Wine.com, Jason Eckenroth of Ship Compliant, and hosts Vince O’Brien of NP and Ron Fondiller General Counsel for Constellation Brands. A lot of what will be presented at this event will focus on the issues surrounding direct shipping.

-Manhattan Cocktail Classic: Takes place May 14-18 New York. This is also a new event backed by some major names in the US spirit business including Dale DeGroff, Simon Ford, Doug Frost, Allen Katz, Steven Olson, Paul Pacult, Sasha Petraske, Gary Regan, Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders, Andy Seymour, Charlotte Voisey and the man with the Civil War-era beard David Wondrich. They had a “test” launch of the event in the fall that was well represented by spirits suppliers and the may event is eagerly awaited by the cocktail community.

-Ultimate Wine Challenge Deadline for entries May 25, Event June 7-11, New York

-Aspen Food and Wine Classic This event is an interesting blend of consumer and trade participants, but you have to be an advertiser in Food and Wine Magazine to be an exhibitor. Aspen, CO, June 18-10, 2010.

-US Wine Bloggers Conference June 25-27, Walla Walla WA. I’ll be there this year, but was unable to attend the first two. I heard some very good things about the USWBC as well as its European Counterpart.

-Fancy Food Show Event dates for NY: June 27-29, 2010 and San Francisco, Jan 2011

-Tales of the Cocktail: Tales is the Grand-daddy of cocktail events and the one that defined and democratized spirits well before social media became cool. Unfortunately I’ve not been invited to speak this year (but I’m available!) and will be joined by my daughter Lindsay who’s now a very successful Brand Ambassador for Mekhong, The spirit of Thailand working the Meatpacking district in New York for them.

-BTI World Value Wine Review for wines under $20 deadline is Aug. 6.

-US Drinks Conference Oct. 12/13, 2010 in NY. (Full transparency…we are the organizers of the USDC) This will be the fourth year of the conference and last year we attracted 160+ delegates from 11 countries…we’re hoping for 250 next year, so please pass this on.

-European Wine Bloggers Conference Vienna Austria, Oct. 22-24 (and sponsored by our client the Austrian Wine Marketing Board! Thanks to Susanne Staggl and Willi Klinger for hosting the event.!) I plan to be there and look forward to meeting my blogger friends from Europe.

-NY Wine Experience (M.Shanken Publications)
NY: Oct. 28-30, 2010

-Miami International Wine Fair
Oct. 16-20, 2010

-BTI Wine Packaging Competition (takes place Dec. 29, 2010)

-BTI Spirits packaging contest takes place Dec. 30, 2010

-Boston Wine Expo Jan. 2011, Boston, MA

-BTI Spirit review schedule covers all categories which have various deadlines throughout the year.

-BTI Wine review schedule runs throughout the year for various regions, countries and wine types