Previewing The Wharf Uncorked with Jimmy Collins of Banfi Vintners


September 5, 2018

Previewing The Wharf Uncorked with Jimmy Collins of Banfi Vintners

The Wharf Uncorked Food & Wine Festival is so close, we can almost taste it. While you count down the hours until our Thursday night kick-off, we counted up the number of amazing wine labels featured this year with Jimmy Collins, Tennessee & Alabama District Manager for Banfi Vintners, a wine distributor for this year’s event. Check out our Q&A with Jimmy to give your palate a preview of what’s in store to pour!

What is your role with Banfi, and what is your background in the wine industry?

I am the District Manager for Banfi Vintners representing two states, Alabama and Tennessee. Prior to that I worked with another import company and a distributor before that. I also published my own wine magazine from 2006-2009. Before my wine career, I used to write songs and produce records in Nashville where I live.

For anyone new to The Wharf Uncorked experience, what do they need to know before attending?

Due to my job, I’m fortunate enough to attend a lot of wine events. This is my fifth time being a part of The Wharf Uncorked. It’s one of my favorite events in one of the better locations! My advice would be to get tickets in advance, and pace yourself. Some people forget it’s a marathon not a sprint—there is plenty of wine for everyone!

What wine selection from The Wharf Uncorked would you recommend for wine connoisseurs of varying palates?

The biggest mistake that attendees make is drinking something they are familiar with, or something they already buy. You’re paying money to try all different types of wines, so try those wines you either can’t afford or normally wouldn’t want to spend money on. That’s how you expand your palate. You’ll be surprised what you might like! So this applies to every palate. People sometimes make the mistake of saying, “give me your most expensive” when that might not be the best wine for that person. It also might not be the right time to drink that wine. California has some expensive cabernets that are meant to age 10 or 20 years. If you’re tasting it when it’s just released, you’re not drinking that wine at its full potential.

For purchasing bottles of wine, what advice would you give to shoppers to keep them from being overwhelmed?

Usually people have a price range when they begin shopping for themselves. Stick with that. In this day and age, there are so many good wines at every price range that you’ll have plenty to choose from. There are exceptions—Champagne, true French Champagne, seems like it’s not worth it, but it is. Also, if you’re buying a gift for someone…overspend. The receiver of the gift will most likely check the price online!

What are some of the wine labels that you’re particularly excited about for The Wharf Uncorked?

In my booth, I have something for everyone. Sweet, Dry, Bubbles, White, Red. I’m also speaking at all the food and wine pairings this year with the special guest chefs, and the wines for that are spectacular! But I must admit, I also look at the program to see which other wine producers are there. I like to sneak over and try some of their choice selections!

When you’re relaxing and unwinding, what wine do you like to pour for yourself?

It goes in phases. White wines for a few weeks, and then I move to Rosé, and then red. It all depends on my mood. But the more exact question might be, “Which region of the world do you usually relax with?” That would be Europe. Italy, Spain, and France are the main countries I prefer. White or red it doesn’t matter! I prefer the Old World wines over the New World wines any day.

For someone on the fence about attending The Wharf Uncorked, what would you say to hook them in?

There isn’t a better wine event to go to than The Wharf Uncorked. You’d be paying way more to taste all the wines if you did it at home! Plus, the location is beautiful. If I didn’t think it was worth it, I wouldn’t have come down from Nashville to work it every year for the past five years. I always put this event into my budget!

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