Expo Vino 2019
In recent years I have noticed a concentrated effort by government, locals and foreigners alike to position, Zihuatanejo as “The” place to be. It seems that nearly every month, there are events featuring gastronomical extravaganzas (such as the tiritas festival and Clandestine dinners), to craft beer tastings, and world class week long extravaganzas like Sailfest, and the International Guitarfest. In fact, it is hard to find a month where an important festival is not taking place.
Enter another event, The Expo Vino, now in its third year, conceived by local businessman, Sommelier Miquel Quiroz Arroyo. Born and raised in Zihuatanejo, Quiroz Arroyo first started the festival with the idea of featuring the portfolio of wines his wholesale company carried for many years.
I caught up with Quiroz Arroyo prior to the festival at his wine shop, Rivello Bar & Wine on Nicolas Bravo in the heart of downtown Zihuatanejo, which had opened a few months before. Coupled with the success of his wine Expo, Quiroz Arroyo felt that that Zihuatanejo was ripe for a wine tasting room of its own. His idea was to educate the general public, both locals and tourists alike, on the many wines they carry from around the world. When I walked in, Quiroz Arroyo, a member of the prestigious organization ONSOM (Organization National de Sommeliers Mexicanos), was teaching a wine class to hospitality and tourism students from Universidad Technologica de la Costa Grande in nearby town of Petatlan.
I immediately noticed the similarities of Rivello Bar & Wine to the wine shops and tasting rooms I had just visited in Spain and Portugal this past Fall, – an observation Quiroz Arroyo confirmed that had inspired him as well during a recent visit to Italy and France. Although open daily, each Thursday customers can book their own private wine tasting party for the reasonable price of $200 pesos, a minimum of 4 people, maximum of 10. And for Quiroz Arroyo, it was a perfect compliment to the festival itself.
Along with a few hundred people, I bought my ticket, (early bird price of 400 pesos, 600 pesos at the door). I arrived to find numerous tables dotting the beach resort of the Sotovento Beach Club, set against the beautiful bay of Zihuatanejo as its backdrop.
Expo Vino 2019, featured wines from Portugal, Spain, Italy as well as from Chile, USA and Mexico. Attendees were treated with tastings of everything from Green wine from Portugal to Malbec from Argentina, and a wide array of sparkling wines, Merlot and Pino Grigio to name a few.
To make things feel even more exclusive, there were timed private tastings you pre-registered for. Beginning at 4:00 pm, 4 featured Sommeliers, Marianna Jiménez, Santiago Soto, Leo Corredor, as well as organizer Miguel Quiroz Arroyo, presented. I chose to attend the 5:00 pm tasting with Sommelier Marianna Jimenez who spoke about two wines by Bodegas Arraez. Even though the lecture was in Spanish, it was easy enough to follow – possibly the delicious wine served had something to do with that!
Several local restaurants served tasty food options, such as Shrimp chow mien, sliders and sushi, perfect for wine pairing and easy enough to carry while I flitted from table to table, sipping, talking and of course, drinking wine.
The finish to the night included music by the ever-popular group Vertical Classic Rock. As we danced the evening away, I thought two things- what could possibly be better than the moon, the stars, wine and music? And that I am already looking forward to Expo Vino 2020.