3/05/2012 02:15:00 PM

Avocado Wine and Real Housewives at the New York Wine Expo

Teresa Giudice from the The Real Houswives of New Jersey
On Friday night, we stopped by the Javits Center to check out this year’s NY Wine Expo. In a room full of winemakers and purveyors showing off their products, a very eclectic group of post-work, mostly non-New Yorkers gathered to get a little tipsy and fight over fromage from the four cheese stations. The thirsty crowd was a mishmash of personalities from couples clearly trying to get their fill before the babysitter's time was up, to singles straight off the PATH and LIRR aiming for a big night out (there was also a wine enthusiast or two in the mix, natch). This year the expo debuted a nifty iPhone app to navigate the booths, and we used it as we chatted with different winemakers and wine-tasters to see what's currently hot in vino. Here are five things we found:

1. Like everything else, wines are becoming more organic. Quite a few were featured, like Fattoria di San Leo and La Torre. There were also pickled vegetables ("we can pickle that!") and in the random garnishes department, an organic version of the the sickly-sweet cocktail garnish that refuses to go away - maraschino cherries. Sadly, being organic doesn't mean being less hungover. Can someone please pass the Advil?

2. GrĂ¼ner Veltliner is now cropping up from New York vineyards. This grape is hot in the Finger Lakes region, which just started producing it this year. Now four growers in the area use it.


3. Old Spanish Monastrell grapes are up-and-coming in the U.S. These earthy grapes produce boozy wines that are deep, dark-red and heavy on the tannins. Boutique vintners are catching on to the bold labels that come from the fruits - so expect to see small batches from U.S. growers more and more at your liquor store.

4. A winery called Schnebly Redlands in Florida's Miami-Dade County makes wine from avocados. Whaaaa?? Apparently, the winemaker uses avocados that have dents or blemishes - even though they are not fit for sale at a grocery store, they still taste fine. Yeah, it may sound a little gimmicky, there is enough of a market to support three varieties of the avocado-vino: dry, semi-dry and sweet. Well, at least you know the perfect thing to pair with guacamole.

5. And the only thing you really care about - there was a Real Housewife in the house! Real Housewives of NJ's Teresa and Joe Giudice were the undisputed stars of the show. After dropping their kids off with Teresa’s parents, they stopped by the expo on their way to St. Barths to show off Teresa's new Fabellini line of peach and raspberry flavored sparkling wines. Unlike her bitchy role on the show this season, Teresa was incredibly friendly and happy to take pics and talk to fans (if perhaps a little self-conscious, she asked to see the pics)!

She told us she was always a huge fan of bellinis but she hates the gunk at the bottom of most of the mixtures, so she teamed up with Brotherhood Winery to make one that is clean and clear (and we'll see her process on Season 4). We tasted the new formula and it basically seems like a $17.99 version of the $4.99 flavored sparkling wine Andre, but she assured us her wine has 12% alcohol and provides a hangover-free drunk. Strawberry and blueberry flavors are coming next. What, no avocado?

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