For It’s Wine, 2, 3 Strikes You’re Out at the old Ball Game!

September 25th, 2013

MeI attended my one and only Cincinnati Reds ball game of the season last night thanks to a free ticket from my friend Kathy who also joined me. I had seen an article in the Cincinnati Business Courier a week or two prior that talked about single wine bottle servings being offered at the Ballpark. The news article reported that former Cincinnati Reds second baseman and Baseball Hall of Famer, Joe Morgan, had introduced merlot and chardonnay wines in single-serve, 187ml plastic bottles to Great American Ball Park patrons for $10 starting in July 2013. And that he was partnering with California-based Steelhead Vineyards and calling the wine “W1NE for One” which came complete with a detachable cup attached to the bottle’s screw top. (Note: the last two run-on sentences can be found on Joe Morgan’s Wikipedia page — thanks to my first Wikipedia edit…ta-da!)

So, I just HAD to try out Joe’s wine during my visit to the game last night. I first tried going up to one of the bars set up along the outer corridors of the ballpark to make my wine purchase. Upon my first try, I was told that the single bottles were only sold by the vendors that came around to your seats — you know the ones who carry the heavy, open beer coolers. I’m guessing the vendor direct delivery is what drove the cost up to $10 because I could have gotten an $8 “plastic Reds cup” of wine from the walk-up bar whose staff were pouring from normal-size bottles of Beringer and other such wines. But I was on a mission to try Joe Morgan’s wine, so off Kathy (with her Leinenkugal draft beer) and I went to our seats.

About ten minutes passed with no vendors coming around, so I walked down from the seats into the corridor and found a vendor resting who happened to have a chardonnay but no merlot. Thanks to David, who BTW should receive the cutest Reds Ballpark vendor award, I finally could sit down and conduct my wine tasting. The 2012 Steelhead Chardonnay had an initial grape taste which was quickly followed by a slight metallic aftertaste. I was not impressed, but then I truly was not expecting anything really all that good. So, all in all it was better than I’d expected, but that’s really not saying too much. I would DEFINITELY not buy it again or recommend that anyone try it — sorry Joe!

screwtopinbottomofglassOn top of the poor-performing taste, it was INCREDIBLY awkward to drink this wine. As I mentioned, the screw top is attached to the inside-bottom of the plastic drinking “glass,” so there’s no way to close the bottle back up once you’ve opened it. The cup holders at the stadium are sized for beer and soda cups, not a petite, little wine bottle. so, while I drank my wine and nibbled on the cheese I’d brought to snack on, I set the open bottle near my foot. Anyone who’s attended a ball game is familiar with how close each seat is to the other. I came close to spilling my wine at least three times. I’m sure that anyone else who’s attempted to drink this wine has run into the same problem and that the ballpark’s concrete stands must be enriched with this stuff!

I attempted to purchase the Merlot to be complete in my ballpark wine tasting – embarrassing myself by shouting down the aisle, “you got any merlot?!?” I knew heads were turning and people were thinking, “what high-maintenance diva is at the ball game and asking for merlot?!?” I had to laugh at myself at how ridiculous I sounded. Finally, after three attempts, I walked back down to the corridor and found a fourth vendor who informed be that they were all out of the merlot. I guess Reds fans prefer red over white – LOL! Or maybe they ordered more chardonnay given the summer season and thinking more people would want a chilled wine?!? Your guess is as good as mine.

Since, I was not the least interested in another “glass” of the chardonnay, Kathy and I visited the craft beer stand at the ballpark. As I’d hoped, they did have one gluten-free beer option (Redbridge — that seems to be the popular pick at most Cincinnati area restaurant establishments) and one cider option (Reds Hard Cider). I’m not a big fan of cider, but it being early fall and the fact that I’ve had Redbridge on a couple of occaisions and I knew it to be nothing great, I opted for the Reds cider. I was happy to get a way bigger pour while paying $1.25 less than the wine. Ciders are usually so sweet — being the Rieslings of the apple world, but Reds Hard Cider had a very light, sweetness and great flavor. I’ll DEFINITELY pick it again given the chance!

So, in conclusion — I’m sorry fellow wine lovers, but when visiting the ballpark – I think I’ll stick to the traditional liquid refreshment – BEER! Or in my case gluten-free beer or cider! It’s always good to go with the saying, “You don’t know ‘til you try it!” Well, take it from me and spend your $10 on something tastier and less embarrassing to ask the vendors to pass down the aisle!!!

Leave a Reply