By Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Boston has no shortage of wine events: from free tastings at boutique stores to the appropriately-named Wine Riot to tours and classes, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for something on the less riotous end, the Boston Wine Festival might be for you. In its 23rd year, the festival spans all the way from January 6th to March 30th, comprised of 45 wine-related dinners, tastings, and seminars. The price tag for many of the events is steep, but the payoff is high for wine connoisseurs.

The Boston Wine Festival was created by Daniel Bruce, Executive Chef of the Boston Harbor Hotel (which houses the festival). Over the lifetime of the festival, Chef Bruce has created over three thousand original dishes to pair with the wines.

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The festivities kick off with an opening reception on January 6th which includes tastings of more than 50 wines from featured vineyards as well as tastings of some of Chef Bruce’s creations. At $100, this is the least expensive event in January. On the higher end, the month ends with “Super Tuscans,” a $295/person four-course dinner paired with Tuscan wines, such as Ornellaia, Brancaia, and Sassicaia. Another January pick is the Battle of the Cabernets (January 12 or 13, $225/person): Napa Valley cabernets, food pairings, a blind tasting led by a cabernet expert panel, and a vote for the favorite. Châteauneuf-du-Pape more your style? A seminar and dinner on the 20th highlights this region; the event is hosted by Ambassador Alain Junguenet and his son, John ($185).

Moving onwards into February, dinners and seminars feature winemakers such as Castello di Ama, The Telmo Rodriguez Wine Co., Robert Foley Vineyards, Markus Huber Winery, and more. For a perfect Valentine’s Day celebration, try the all-Champagne dinner dance on February 10th, featuring wines from Charles Heidsieck, including the signature 2002 Rare Millésime, or the Valentine’s brunch on the 12th with Piper Heidsieck Champagne, a buffet from Chef Bruce, and live piano music. The dinner dance will set you back $195 per person; brunch is $75. Another highlight is the Rising Stars dinner on February 17th, featuring two Sonoma winemakers, George Levkoff of George Wine Co. and Eric Flanagan of Flanagan Vineyards ($145).

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By the third month, the festival continues right along with 18 more events. Featured wineries include Thackrey & Co., Burgess Cellars, Elyse Winery, Failla Wines, and many more. Don’t miss the Wagner Family of Wines seminar and dinner on March 20th, at which Joseph Wagner will present the entire portfolio from the fifth generation winery ($215). The Italian wine reception on March 2nd will also be a treat: sample 45 wines from around Italy, paired with Chef Bruce’s creations ($75). The festival ends with a closing reception on March 30th, featuring a selection of the year’s best wines, complemented by a buffet ($75).

To browse the full schedule, learn more, and purchase tickets, visit the Boston Wine Festival website.

23rd Annual Boston Wine Festival
January 6 – March 20, 2012
Boston Harbor Hotel
70 Rowes Wharf
Boston, MA

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