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New World Wine Experience 2012: Grand Tasting Photo Gallery

An evening of connecting over 200 exceptional wines

Dana Nigro
Posted: October 19, 2012

On Thursday, Wine Spectator brought its annual three-day extravaganza to Los Angeles for the first time in the Wine Experience's history, with a lineup of more than 200 outstanding and classic wines. While strolling the spacious halls of the JW Marriott at L.A. Live, guests traversed the New World of wine, from California, Oregon, Washington and other U.S. areas to Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and beyond.

The crowd was a mix of regulars and new faces. After sampling the Pinot Noir from El Molino in Napa Valley, area residents Brandon and Josephine Miller were considering their next stop, amazed at the prospect of a whole second floor of wineries they hadn't even seen yet. "It's the first wine tasting event we've been to," said Brandon. "We're starting with a bang."

In contrast, John and Helen Leahey of Orlando Beach, Fla., have been coming to the Wine Experience for around 20 years. Helen said they made the cross-country trip to Los Angeles because the event "is the highlight of my husband's year." John added, "We don't just keep coming back—we've added more and more people. We now bring 9 people with us, children, their spouses, a grandchild one year."

Other visitors came from even farther afield, such as Robert Joergensen, a wine importer from Norway who was tasting through wines for finds to bring into his own country. "I love this event because you meet people from all over the world, "said Napa vintner Boots Brounstein, owner of Diamond Creek.

Beyond the opportunity to try so many 90-points-plus wines in one weekend, a key draw of the Wine Experience is the chance for wine drinkers to make connections with the winemakers and vintners behind the bottlings they love. South Africa's Ken Forrester said, "I've been coming for six years. A customer just said to me, 'I love that you're here pouring it yourself every year.' Where else can you get that personal interaction?"

Here are portraits of a few of the notable winemakers and winery owners who were on hand to pour their wines, along with the guests who came to enjoy them. Click any thumbnail photo to open the slideshow.

Thursday's Grand Tastings

Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson Photograph by Kent Hanson
Troy Peterson
Burbank, CA —  October 19, 2012 7:15pm ET
I'm consumed with envy. Wish I was there. So close and yet so far.
Robert Gledhill
Newport Coast —  October 21, 2012 1:26pm ET
My wife and I only attended the Grand Tastings Thursday and Friday evenings. This had to be by far our best wine tasting experience. Imagine 200 wineries only pouring one wine, their recent best. We got home Saturday evening and ordered eight different cases of wine.The hors devours served were very high quality, deserts amazing. I'll be back. My wine room will never be the same. So much fun, so little time.
Steve Trachsel
Poway, Ca. —  October 21, 2012 5:26pm ET
Great time at the Friday tasting!! Got to see some old friends and met some new ones too. Of course the wines werw amazing as always!
John Eagan
Los Angeles —  October 21, 2012 7:37pm ET
It was fantastic having the event in LA and starting Friday with Krug and Saturday with Chateau Margaux rewarded the punctual! The only thing skippable was the silly celebrity, John Salley on a wine panel. The opportunity to taste what has to equate to $10,000's of wine is always a great way to spend the weekend. The venue, JW Marriott, was excellent.
Dana Nigro
New York, NY —  October 21, 2012 10:51pm ET
Troy, sorry you couldn't make it!

Robert, Steve, John — glad to hear you had a great time! So many wonderful wines at the Grand Tastings, and the Marriott chefs outdid themselves with the food. We'll be reporting more on the seminars soon...
Jerold Greenfield
Fort Myers, Florida —  October 22, 2012 12:18pm ET
Great event...and I'm sure everyone told Lynn, Lisa, and Dana that the food was the best we've ever had at any venue. Always a pleasure to drink great wine with old friends...and I had my first chance to meet my idol, Manfred Krankl!
Tim Mc Donald
Napa,CA —  October 22, 2012 3:14pm ET
Amazing how every year it seems to get a bit better! Kudos to the team at Wine Spectator, your motto should be "exceeding expectations every time, money back guarantee" Cheers till next year in NY and thanks for the smiles!
Tony Lombardi
Sebastopol, CA —  October 22, 2012 5:35pm ET
I'm with Tim! Great time had by all and a big thank you to Wine Spectator and their excellent staff for putting on another fabulous event in the perfect venue ... Cheers!
Jerry Janisch
valley center, california —  October 23, 2012 1:41pm ET
the quality of wines tasted was phenomenal. the number
of wines tasted was equally so. the opportunity to learn and enjoy simultaneously, who could ask for more.
it was complete enjoyment! sue janisch

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