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'Wine Riot' to Bring Booze, Food and Fake Tattoos to Flatiron District

By Mary Johnson | September 10, 2012 11:46am

MANHATTAN — For all the wine lovers in the city who don't know the difference between a chenin blanc and a Chardonnay — an upcoming event aims to inject more fun into drinking wine.

The Wine Riot event, presented by the San Francisco-based Second Glass, will span two days from September 21 to 22 at the Lexington Avenue Armory in the Flatiron district. The goal is to make wine-drinking approachable, not stodgy, and to keep the mood light there will be a free tattoo stand with wine-themed fake tattoos and a photo booth for goofy pictures.

Along with the 20-minute crash courses in wine education designed for casual wine consumers, the Korilla BBQ food truck and the Cookie Guild, which makes beer and wine cookies, will provide some much needed sustenance amid all the booze.

Tyler Balliet, 32, is one of the co-founders of Second Glass, which has been putting on Wine Riots in Boston for several years. The purpose behind the company and its events is to make wine education more accessible by removing the specialist language, or wine jargon, and the attitude that tends to ostracize most wine drinkers.

“One of the foundations of our business is we don’t talk like that,” Balliet explained. “It’s not important for customers and consumers, and we wanted to create a place where you didn’t have to deal with that.”

“It’s always baffled my mind how people can take alcohol and make it boring,” he added.

The event will feature more than 300 wines from around the world, organized by geography so that guests can taste their way through the wines of different countries.

Balliet said that the history behind many wines makes for fascinating stories, and the event’s 20-minute crash courses are designed to give people a taste of what goes into producing each particular wine in each particular part of the world.

The organizers have taken steps to ensure that all the wines presented at the event are available for purchase in New York City, and most bottles are priced at less than $25 each.

Second Glass has also created a mobile app for the event that allows guests to highlight their favorite wines and retain that list for when they make future purchases.

Tickets for the Friday event, from 7 to 11 p.m., cost $60. On Saturday, the Wine Riot will offer two sessions, the first from 1 to 5 p.m. and the second from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets for each Saturday session are $50.

The cost to attend includes a wine glass and unlimited 1-ounce samples, which Baillet said can add up quickly.

That tends to be where the free fake tattoos come in to play.

“They’re really hilarious. We kind of model them after traditional tattoos but with funny wine themes to them,” Baillet said. “After two hours in the event, people are like, ‘I want one on my neck!’”

For more information about the Second Glass Wine Riot, visit the Second Glass website.