If you followed our coverage of the Second Glass Boston Wine Riot last week, you may remember our enthusiastic booth volunteer, Cullen McAlpine.
Cullen was so much fun, we thought our fans would enjoy his perspective on the Wine Riot. We caught up with Cullen in the final 18 hours of his undergraduate education at Harvard and grilled him about himself, wine and what it was like to wear lederhosen and staff our booth at the Riot.
Dr. Loosen: Tell us a little about yourself.
Cullen: I’m a Senior at Harvard who is about 18 hours away from finishing his last undergraduate class ever. I’m originally from Alaska but have traveled to many of the world’s wine regions, including summer internships in Napa Valley, CA, and Champagne, France. My major is in History with secondary fields in Spanish and French Language. My major has satisfied my intellectual curiosity and allowed me to travel the world, but I don’t think I will pursue History beyond college.
Dr. Loosen: Tell us about your interest in wine.
Cullen: My interest in wine was first developed with my father when I was much younger. We, both being bachelors, often went out to restaurants where I would take sips from his wine glass while he described the wine’s provenance and characteristics. In my teens I continued my exploration of wine and eventually ended up building a wine cellar in my basement with my stepfather. Wine is a great hobby for me and, although I do not think it will be my main vocation, it will be a constant passion throughout my life.
Dr. Loosen: How did you end up staffing the Loosen Boston Wine Riot booth?
Cullen: Ian Dick, Dr. Loosen’s East Coast Sales Manager, invited me to help him pour. I had already been acquainted with Dr. Loosen Rieslings so I eagerly accepted!
Dr. Loosen: What do you think of German Rieslings and Loosen in particular? Do you have a favorite Dr. Loosen wine?
Cullen: I love German Riesling! When you’re in the mood, no other wine will satisfy quite like a deliciously sweet and complex Riesling from the banks of the Mosel. Dr. Loosen does an excellent job displaying Riesling’s various characteristics, and I would be hard pressed to pick one above the rest, but I certainly enjoyed the Blue Slate Kabinett at the Wine Riot.
Dr. Loosen: What was it like, staffing the booth?
Cullen: It was an experience! The crowds are young, energetic, and always very eager to try the wine. It’s nice to be pouring wine at one of the more popular booths. The Beerenauslese in particular was enormously popular. When you’re tasting literally hundreds of wines, that delicious late harvest nectar still stands out above the rest.
Dr. Loosen: What’s with the lederhosen?
Cullen: I picked them up in Salzburg this summer on my way back from Champagne (I was obviously taking the long way home). I wore my Lederhosen to the Wine Riot thinking that if there was ever a time to break them out, it was now! I think they went over rather well. In the first hour people seemed politely amused. By the second hour people would curiously ask me about them and question whether I was originally from Germany. To these questions I would usually respond that, “no I wasn’t from Germany but Dr. Loosen rewarded their best customers with authentic Lederhosen.” Everything was going pretty well until the fourth hour when I started to encounter the more….exuberant… tasters who insisted upon taking numerous pictures with me. After the fifth person grabbed me in a bear hug and asked me about my Germanic roots, I decided it was time to start heading home. Overall it was a fantastic experience made all the more sweet by Lederhosen.
Dr. Loosen: Any advice for people attending future wine riots?
Cullen: Pace yourself, eat plenty of food, and if you’re intent upon trying even half the wines, make sure to spit.
Dr. Loosen: Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Cullen: My favorite spot to drink Riesling: On a perfectly warm sunny day, take a bottle of your favorite Dr. Loosen Riesling down to the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and watch the boats row by. It doesn’t get much better than that.
MORE WINE RIOTS COMING UP:
* Chicago – May 21
* New York – September 23/24
* DC – October 21/22
For more info, see the Second Glass Wine Riots webpage.