National Harbor Wine & Food Festival


That's the legendary Doc Hayes (extreme right gold necklace) with his posse from the Erikka A. Hayes Foundation. Shows Inc., the event organizers, worship him, because the Man makes all the permits happen. And if you're dealing with alcohol, you know how much a connection like Doc is worth. He had a booth as soon as you came in and they were raising funds for a good cause in the name of Mojitos!

Diagonally across from Doc was the Watermelon Lady! Of all the things one can pedal, there's always watermelon! So that's Jessica Haden (in tiara) the 2009 Maryland-Delaware Watermelon Queen with Candice Hales whose real job is to push watermelons for a living. Yeah, she actually works for the Mar-Del Watermelon Association.

Taking a stab at some business at the winefest was a knife-wielding purveyor of Hammer Stahl knives which you can get at different sites as and others.

A few doors down we ran into Nichole Benolken, General Manager of aloft Washington National Harbor, a stylish new hotel property envisioned by the W Hotel chain. When we told Nichole about our last weekend getaway at Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center and the resulting press, she said she couldn't wait to invite us back to the man-made island so we could check out her hot property. We're gonna take her up on her invite and our readers will only be as proud!

An unusual contraption at the winefest was being served/sold by George A. Papendick who fronts for a company called Soiree. So, what is this test-tube babyä It helps aerate your wine by bringing the pour in first contact with Oxygen and than your glass, a process called double-decanting. Go figure!

Not too clear on the double-decanting, we double-dipped on the Vodka – Svedka Vodka, we were reminded by Larry Brookman (left) who promised to send us some of the V-decanters. Hopefully, he won't recant!

Before we were accused of abandoning the wines, we found ourselves in the "Black Box" lounge with some Hollywood-types. That's Heather Ackroyd in the black and white dotted dress with Publisher Lak Vohra. Heather is the niece of Dan Ackroyd, repping for VinOne, a Constellation Brands company, that handled many of the big box brands in town for the festival. Heather tells us Uncle Dan has happily branched out into the wine, vodka and horror regalia business. She's got the family look, doesn't sheä

Chilling in the Black Box wine lounge three unidentified patrons. No wine, just cameras! 

That's a familiar family! John A. Harrington (who assembled his family for the festival) has known us for over a decade and all this while he's been loyal to Trefethen Family Vineyards of Napa. One family sticking with the other. We like that. Go John!

Lot's of foodie luminaries from around the nation descended at the festival. Caught taking a break with her entourage was Barbara Fairchild, Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit magazine.

We saved the last word for the Robert Mondavi Pavilion – by far the coolest winetrap we have ever seen in ages perched high above the festival asphalt in cool climes resembling an African safari mission. As you can see, the hourly tastings and special demonstrations had standing room only with local chefs pairing mini-meals with Mondavi wines. The sessions were led by Nick Padula, Area Manager, VinOne (holding the microphone). The pavilion fatured hi-def flat screen TVs and very chic serving stations run by flight-attendants-by-day-and-wine-pourers-by-the-hour damsels (above) who made khakis a word you could keep rolling around your tongue around dreaming of flights you couldn't have enough of. Salud!