Stemmers, crushers, corks, tractors, glassware, bottling lines ... the Sacramento Convention Center's main exhibit hall is like the Willy Wonka factory of wine. Some 600 exhibitors are showing off their wares at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, the largest wine and grape trade show in the western hemisphere. The floor seems a little less packed than usual at this moment, but that may be because a tasting of Bordeaux blends is going on next door at the Hyatt Regency.
And now this: attendance figures were just released, and the final head count is 11,700 for Unified 2010. That's a drop of 200 from last year, when a record-setting 11,900 attended Unified 2009.
Still, we're wondering if Unified has outgrown the Sacramento Convention Center. With floor space maxed out, and some exhibitors wishing they had room for their booths, it would seem so. Some 170 exhibitors were also placed on a waiting list for this year.
But where would Unified go? Organizers say San Francisco would be too costly and Reno is too dicey because of weather. So it's Sacramento for now, and for at least the next two years.
And now, it's back for another spin at the trade show ... Zorks and cooperage, here I come. And cheers to Unified 2010...