After lunch, parking the car, and a short rest in the hotel room, we were ready to head to the Wine Expo. Because he knew we were going to be tasting a lot of wines, Bill decided we’d take a taxi to the convention hall where the expo took place. We had gotten tickets to the event– six euros, which includes a wine glass for tasting– was the official price. However, I don’t think we paid for the tickets, since once you go and buy wine, the vinters send them out. Someone gifted Bill with them and he printed them off at work.
So we got the cab, and I made sure Bill took the cabbie’s card, because I sure as hell had no plans to hoof it from the exposition. We walked into the huge convention hall, after my purse was given a cursory once over by security. We picked up a couple of wine glasses tasting wines… and off we went. As I mentioned before, this event is attended by winemakers from all over France. It was PACKED with hundreds of labels from Alsace to Corsica and everywhere in between. Okay, so I didn’t see any wines from any of the overseas departments like Reunion Island or St. Barts… but mainland France was very well represented.
We stopped at one booth featuring wines from the Loire Valley. I wanted to try some, since I visited the Loire Valley in 1997 with my sister. I have yet to get there with Bill, but I have fond memories of the time I spent there years ago with Becky. We bought two cases there… probably too much in retrospect, given how many people were there. What can I say? The salesman was charming.
Then we stopped at a booth with wines from the southwest, not too far from Basque Country in Spain. The guy at that booth was even more charming, and we bought eight more bottles from him. Since we had no personal trolley nor our car with us, we arranged to pick up the wines the next day.
Then we walked to the other side of the expo, visited the restrooms, which were free of charge (a rare sight in Germany, but the French must realize that when you gotta go, you gotta go). We bought some Chateauneuf du Pape– a small enough order to carry with us, a bottle of cognac, a few bottles of Gigondas, and some Pommard from Beaune. Finally, we stopped at a booth with wine from Languedoc, which is one of Bill’s favorite wine regions anywhere. We arranged to get the Languedoc wines the next day, too. The lady who sold them to us spoke no English, and our French is non-existent– but wine is an international language. As we walked through the convention, I took a picture of the places where we stopped to try wine. It made it easier to find them on Sunday.
Word to the wise. Hilton Strasbourg is located right next to the convention center. I considered booking there, too. If we go back for the wine expo, maybe I will book there. It’s not even a five minute walk away. We did duck in there when we were finished shopping and a kind staffer called a cab for us. We were able to carry about ten bottles with us and arranged to get the rest on Sunday, when we would be bringing the car.
One thing to know for other years… if you intend to buy a lot of wine, it may be worth it to bring your own dolly and bungie cords. You can use the “trollies” at the convention, but you’ll have to wait in line to get them. There are “chariots” for sale there, but they’re not very big and they’re a bit flimsy. We ended up buying one on Sunday and making two trips to the car with our modest haul of about 44 bottles. There is a coat check in the hall, too, but I would recommend dressing lightly. There are a lot of bodies in there and it’s pretty warm.
After a couple of hours at the expo, we were tired and overwhelmed, and Bill was fretting over how much we spent. It turned out we didn’t spend as much as he thought, and he put most of it on his debit card, anyway. Still, by early evening, we were wiped out and ready to head back to the hotel. We were still full from lunch and not interested in going back to the city for dinner. So we went back to the hotel and settled in…
A couple of hours later, Bill used an app to order Lebanese food which was brought by Deliveroo, a delivery service. One other thing I noticed in Strasbourg is that it’s one of six French cities that has Yea! Citiz, a rental car service that allows you to order a car like you’d order a bike. You stay within a certain perimeter and park the car in certain areas. I noticed one of their cars as we were milling around the city. I watched a cheesy 80s era movie starring Kristy McNichol and fell asleep early, with visions of wine bottles dancing in my head.