Hard seltzer has been the newest beverage craze the last couple of years which according to Grand View Research, had a global market of 8.95 billion dollars in 2021. The U. S. market share is 21.7%.
Even the mainstream brands such as Budweiser and Corona to name a couple have gotten into the act.
They are made from carbonated water with the addition of alcohol usually from fermented sugar but sometimes from barley with fruit flavorings and even cannabis. In addition to the hard seltzers at the event there were hard tea, hard lemonade and canned cocktails.
I have to admit there are times when I’m in a situation where I’m looking for something refreshing to drink and I don’t feel like an overpriced Pinot Grigio or a high alcohol cocktail, so I’ve ordered a hard seltzer.
Usually in a bar there are a handful of the same major brands to choose from but at this tasting there were dozens of brands with many flavors that were poured.
The event was held at Belmont Park at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont Long Island. It’s a unique venue to have a tasting, the tasting was held on the upper levels of the grandstand overlooking the racetrack. With live racing that day you could have placed a bet on the horses in between sips of seltzer.
There are many venues where the professional and consumer wine tastings are held. Some are small, intimate tastings in an office or in a restaurant, some in much bigger venues with a much larger selection of product. But I have to say that one of the most exotic venues I’ve attended for a tasting is at a racetrack.
On May 21st I attended the Belmont Uncorked wine tasting at Belmont Park racetrack which is located at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, just across the Queens border in Nassau County.
Belmont Park was built in 1905, during the heyday of horseracing it was one of many racetracks in New York which included Meadowlands Raceway, Aqueduct Raceway, Yonkers Raceway and Roosevelt Raceway. All of those have stopped hosting racing and Belmont Park is the last holdout. It’s an old school facility with a lot of parkland which on the Saturday afternoon of the wine tasting was full of people having picknicks or just wandering around enjoying the sunshine (and betting on the horses too).
There are professional tastings and there are tastings open to the consumers. With the consumer tastings, some are aimed at the wine geeks while other tastings are geared to the novice drinker, those for the novice drinkers are more of a wine party than a wine tasting.
Going to these events I don’t have an expectation that there will be much upper tier, or trophy wines poured. I have to admit the last time I went to this event I was disappointed, it’s not so much that the wines came from unknown producers but that the wines were terrible. This time around I’m happy to say the quality improved. Other than Kendall Jackson and Duckwalk Vineyards, the wines were still from unknown labels but at least they were drinkable on this nice Spring afternoon.