If you enjoy wine, if you enjoy learning about wine, and you like a laugh and a bit of fun, then this really is the experience for you. I am fortunate enough to have experienced the DVC wine tasting event at Wine bar George twice now, both of which were wonderful but both of which were really rather different, which I’ll go into later.
These events currently occur weekly, and cost $45 at the time of writing this article. For this you get around 90 minutes with a somellier, six samples of wine, and a shard charcuterie board (I’ve seen this on their regular menu, and it costs around $50). Both times I’ve been, it was in August. I went alone in 2018, and this year I attended with a friend (and strangely bumped into another friend whilst I was there, it is indeed a small world after all!).
You check in at the station at the door, and are asked to wait in the main bar, until the entire group has arrived. You’re then shown upstairs. In 2018 the group was around 30 people and we were in a large room at the back of the bar. It had wonderful views, and we were on tables of six. In front of us was six wine, already poured out, and the charcuterie board to share between us. In 2019, we were in a much smaller room, which I believe they call the library. There were only twelve of us for this event and it felt much more personal. On this occasion we shared the charcuterie board between four people, rather than the six of the previous year.
The big selling point of this event is obviously the wine, but more so that it is usually hosted by THE George, you know, the one who owns the place. In 2018 this was not the case. We did indeed have a wonderful somellier lead our tasting, and I’m afraid I can’t remember his name. He was fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed that it wasn’t George. He told us lots of wonderful stories about the wines, but I felt he was very scripted. Also, I wasn’t sure how long the event was supposed to last, but I’d say it wasn’t even an hour. What I did like about this one was that it was only white wines, which is what I prefer. The majority of the wines were delicious, but there was one ‘oddball’ one in there that I really didn’t care for. Although this wasn’t lead by George, we were told he always chooses the wines, and always likes to put a slightly odd one in. We were taught all about the wines, where they came from, and how to properly taste them. Even though I was alone I had a wonderful time. The other people on our table were fantastic and really included me in their group.
I was lucky enough to do this again in 2019, this time with a friend. The check in process was the same and I was really pleased that we’d be in a much smaller group in the library. What was even better was that it was THE George thing the session. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it last year, but having a smaller group, and having George himself made this experience so much better. He started by explaining to us what a master somellier is, how many years of training they have to go through, and what it means to him. He also told us all about his career progression both with and without Disney. I was particularly interested to learn that he’d been the somellier at California Grill for many years. In fact, I believe he served us once when my husband and I dined there for our wedding anniversary. We have very little idea about wine, and I remember him being so friendly and recommending something to us that was not only delicious, but didn’t break the bank!
During The Event…
Which this time included both red and white wine, he took us through the stories of each wine and how to taste them. With the gentleman we had last year, this made up the bulk of the talk. However, with George this was not the case. Of course he did do that, but most of it was just him chatting to us all. He talked about his family, his life, his travels, everything really. I do think that if you were to do this event, and be lucky enough to have George as your sommelier, it we’d be completely different every single time. That man really does love to talk, and as a group, we were lapping it up! I think the thing that I liked most about him was how he wasn’t in the slightest bit pompous. He’s such a normal man, and so friendly. As someone who knows very little about wine, I didn’t feel uncomfortable asking him questions that, to him, would have been incredibly simple to answer. We also had a long conversation about the price of wines. He was telling us that it really doesn’t matter what a wine costs, but that you enjoy it, and if you enjoy a $5 bottle from Target, just go for it! He did tell us about some of the more expensive ones he’s tried and some of the tactics vineyards use, but he’s a man who clearly knows what he’s doing. He also taught us about markups which I think, as a bar owner, was quite brave of him. We found that really nothing was off limits to talk about, and as we all became more relaxed (and had more wine), the conversation really did flow.
The event came to a very natural end, and we went way over the 90 minutes we expected to be there. Not that anyone was complaining. Personally I could listen to him talk all day.
Although I generally don’t care for red wine, I did enjoy tasting them. All the whites we had were delicious, I was even able to identify a couple of them, which surprised me. There were people there who were far more knowledgable, and some who did this event regularly. It really didn’t matter though, we all had a wonderful time together. The charcuterie board was also excellent – and I much preferred only sharing it with three other people this time, rather than five. George went into detail about what was on there, and what it would taste good with. He went on to talk about how the flavours differ depending on which wine you’re drinking too, and he was definitely right about that.
I must admit, I was unsure about doing this again, but after having George this time, I would totally do it again, even though I’ve already done it twice! He did say he tries to do them all, and can only remember five times he hasn’t been there. I mentioned to him. I did some when he wasn’t there, and he told me exactly where he was (California), and which new wine he’d sourced from that very trip! So it really is rare for him not to be there.
If you like wine, and you like a couple of hours of casual entertainment, this really is for you. It does book up quickly though, so I’d recommend trying to get a reservation as soon as you know your travel dates. Well worth the money, and for us st least, a good time was had by all.