Looking to "do" wine? Anyone who is should turn their attention to this weekend's DO AC Boardwalk Wine Promenade, taking place noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5.
There, ambitious sippers can visit seven themed tents spanning the length of the Atlantic City Boardwalk and sample 150 different wines, ranging from inexpensive and fun (yes, even boxed) to the rare and the pricey.
The outdoor wine festival, developed this year by the Atlantic City Alliance, features an impressive wine list hand-selected by wine expert and television personality Leslie Sbrocco, who also helped conceive and plan each themed area along the Boardwalk. The promenade also brings together all 12 Atlantic City casino resorts, which will be featuring various food pairings to go with the wines.
"Usually, it's just a big, old wine tasting - that's what we really wanted to get away from," says Sbrocco, a frequent "Today" show guest and winner of the James Beard Award, three Taste Awards and three Emmy awards for her work. "We really wanted to showcase the beauty of the Boardwalk through the lens of wine and food. Each tent is themed with something that brings Atlantic City and the Boardwalk to life."
Themed areas include a "Boardwalk Games" tent, with wines paying tribute to the streets of Monopoly, a "Sun" tent with a beach-bar vibe, and a "Sips and Sashes" tent that pays tribute to the Miss America Pageant at Boardwalk Hall.
"So every one of the 150 wines that I selected is there for a reason," Sbrocco says.
For the art-themed tent, Sbrocco selected 14 wines from around the world known for their striking art labels, such as Francis Ford Coppola's "Eleanor," a high-end, California red blend.
"Each of the wines in that destination is focused on the beauty of the bottle inside and out," Sbrocco says.
The "Thrills" tent, Sbrocco says, is designed to give tasters the sense of fun to be had from rides and gambling. For this area, Sbrocco includes some well-received celebrity wines, including a pinot grigio from actress Drew Barrymore's new label and the "Drops of Jupiter" red wine from the band Train.
"I'm so proud of the way this has come together," Sbrocco says. "This is completely different from any wine experience I have ever partaken in. It's about the journey, the experience of tasting the wine. Everything is thought through."
Sbrocco will also be offering a free session on both days to attendees, where she will give tips on how to taste wine professionally, navigate the tents and get the most from the tasting experience.
"Within each destination, we give you a little card that has a wine outline on it," Sbrocco says. "If you like sweeter wines, there will be sweet wines in every single tent. There are anywhere from 14 wines to ... our biggest tent has 32 wines. I have written the wine tasting notes for each of the wines, and they're on the tables."
The style and scope of the wine promenade set it apart from anything else in the region, says Liza Cartmell, president of the Atlantic City Alliance.
"Most events like this are either inside, or just one tent or a beer garden atmosphere," Cartmell says. "What we have here are separately themed areas, and it's really designed to be an entire afternoon experience. We think it will be really, really fun.
"After Superstorm Sandy, we need every opportunity to feature the Boardwalk. We also love the idea from a brand perspective. Atlantic City is known for its food and beverages … and this is a unique combination."
Wine Promenade Themed Destinations
SUN - A destination for beach-worshipping wine lovers, this station will have a beach bar vibe and will feature crisp white wines from Sauvignon Blancs to un-oaked Chardonnays.
ARTWALK - Celebrating the art installations on the Boardwalk and artistic designs on wine packaging, this station features wines with gorgeous labels and other special sips.
CHILL - What better way to "chill" on the Boardwalk than to relax in an Adirondack chair and sip fabulous aromatic whites, roses and reds.
SIPS & SASHES - Celebrating the return of Miss America to Atlantic City, this destination will highlight the pageant's glamorous and fun sides with selections from across the United States including sleek, elegant pinot noirs, cult cabs and world-class Syrah and Merlot.
BOARDWALK GAMES - Monopoly anyone? Experience the high-end wines of Boardwalk and Park Place along with the fun and funky wines of Baltic Avenue, and the everyday wines with personality inspired by New York and Tennessee avenues.
THRILLS - Evoke the spirit and rush of iconic Boardwalk rides and games through playful wines with a sense of fun, and thrilling pours including an icon area celebrating celebrity sips.
AC VINTAGE TO CONTEMPORARY - Journey through Atlantic City's history with wines that mirror time periods from the early days (a salute to jazz to contemporary) to modern times and wines from around the globe - includes "Big Boss Reds," "White with Attitude," and "Super Siblings" that wow.
- Destination information provided by the Atlantic City Alliance