Wine Over Water is one of Chattanooga’s premier annual events.
This massive wine-tasting brings more than 200 wines from nearly 100 wineries to the Walnut Street Bridge for attendees to sip on throughout the evening. It’s a wine aficionado’s dream, and also a great opportunity to explore wines you may or may not get on a regular basis.
In addition to wine, 16 local restaurants came to the bridge, too, providing small plates for attendees to purchase and enjoy with their wines. Charcuterie and bread samples were also available, thanks to Publix and the local Bluff View Bakery. You can’t have wine without bread and cheese, after all.
In its 23rd year, Wine Over Water organizers decided it was time to take things up a notch.
They added five “off the bridge” events that kicked off the festival a few days early. It started with a five-course wine dinner at St. John’s Restaurant with executive chef Rebecca Barron (who recently won the Cast Iron Cook Off at the farmer’s market). Other events included the MLK Brewery and Bites tour, which included stops at local breweries and restaurants along Martin Luther King Blvd; the Best Cellars Wine Tasting and Silent Auction (not a new event but a festival favorite); Best Cellars after-party; an historic architectural tour around Chattanooga; and a Namaste Bubbly champagne brunch and yoga event to round out the weekend on Sunday.
Like many of Chattanooga’s best and biggest events, Wine Over Water is a benefit. Proceeds from ticket sales to all events go to Cornerstones, Inc., a local nonprofit that works toward preservation of historic buildings, sites and the urban fabric around Chattanooga. It is Chattanooga’s only nonprofit historic preservation organization.
This was my first year attending Wine Over Water, and I was super excited to taste a bunch of wine and enjoy one of my favorite views of the Tennessee River from the Walnut Street Bridge. My best picks of the evening were:
Naughty Tea, Southern Sweet Tea Wine. It’s exactly what it sounds like: sweet tea fermented and turned into wine! It’s made from 100% natural sweet tea, with no added flavors or artificial colors. It even has a little bit of caffeine in it!
Bolla Pinot Noir, from Italy. I’ve become a red wine fan, but I tend to prefer cabernets. This pinot noir blew me away. It wasn’t heavy or too dark or strong. It was actually super light, in flavor and color, and refreshing on an abnormally humid October day. This may have been my pick of the day.
Tennessee Valley Winery, Blackberry Wine. Y’all this was potent. It was 12% ABV, so a 1-ounce taste was about as much as I could handle. I usually enjoy chilled fruit wines in the spring and summer (especially a good peach wine), but I wanted to try something different, so I went for the blackberry.
One Hope Wines. Not only do these people make great wine, but they make and sell great wine for great causes. Proceeds from their wines go straight to charity. Causes One Hope donates to include breast cancer, animal rescue, autism, childhood hunger, vaccines and more. Y’all can read more about their impact on their website. My pick from One Hope was the pinot noir, which happened to support pet rescue (a cause near and dear to my heart, of course).
Other tasty wines I sampled included:
- Palm Bay Vinho Verde (super light and refreshing).
- Sea Glass Pinot Noir (a heavier, more traditional California pinot)
- Riunite Peach Moscato and Sangria (like I said… I like peach wine)
- Gemma Di Luna sparkling moscato (because there will always be a special place in my heart for some bubbles)
The BEST part about my Wine Over Water experience was having my sweet friend Caroline here with me! Caroline, who blogs over at Adventures in Nonsense, and I have known each other since the late 90s; we went to preschool together and stayed friends when we went to separate elementary schools. Then my family moved around several times and Caroline and I lost touch. Then, by the magic of Facebook, we reconnected several years ago and finally got to visit each other last weekend.
Wine Over Water seemed like a great opportunity for two wine aficionados to reunite. There is something really magical about rediscovered friendships.
The 2018 date has already been announced. Mark your calendars for October 6, 2018, and don’t miss a whole lot of wine and a good time, on and off the bridge. Maybe I’ll volunteer next year and get a whole different experience!
Tell me about a wine tasting event you’ve been to. What kind of wines did you like the most?