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D.C.'s wine season: Expand your palate

Friday - 4/13/2012, 2:44pm  ET

Scott Greenberg, special to

WASHINGTON - I think the best way to learn more about wine is to taste more wine.

During the months of April and May, the D.C. area is filled with opportunities to taste a variety of varietals. If you're looking to expand the horizon of your wine palate, you're in luck because wine season in Washington has officially begun.

Wine Spectator Grand Tour Wine Tasting - Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m.

Where: Ronald Reagan Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004

What: One of the most prominent wine tastings in America makes a stop this year in Washington. The Wine Spectator magazine is sponsoring a tasting that features over 200 wines from 21 different countries that includes rose, white, red, sparkling, fortified and dessert wines. Winery representatives will be on hand to pour wine and answer questions. Many will also offer tastes of their high-end wines. Tickets are $200.

13th Annual Heart's Delight Wine Tasting and Auction - Wednesday, May 2 through Saturday, May 5

What and Where: If you're looking to drink well while doing good, then the four-day long Heart's Delight Wine Tasting and Auction is an ideal way to mix philanthropy and fun. It begins on Wednesday with the United States of Wine celebration on the rooftop of 101 Constitution Ave, NW. The evening will showcase some of the best wines in America, many of which will be presented by owners and winemakers themselves.

Thursday features a series of intimate wine dinners in embassies, restaurants and private homes, each pairing a special chef and winemaker. Friday is the exclusive black-tie Vintners Dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium featuring the First Growth Wines of Château Mouton Rothschild. The fundraiser culminates on Saturday, with a seated tasting where Chateau representatives from Bordeaux will share wines from the 2009 vintage.

The post-tasting reception features food prepared by some of the nation's top chefs and wines from around the world as well as live and silent auctions where guests may bid on exclusive travel opportunities, dining experiences and rare and exceptional wines. The Grand Tasting and Reception will be held at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel - 2500 Calvert Street, NW Washington, DC. Tickets range from $200 - $1,000 depending on the event(s) you want to attend. For more information, click here.

Wine Riot - Saturday, May 5

Where: DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006

What: In 2008, Tyler Balliet and Morgan First set out to create a fun event where people could learn about wine in a festive environment. Wine Riot, now in its third year, is the perfect place for both the curious novice as well as the growing oenophile to explore over 250 wines from around the world. Ms. First and Mr. Balliet have conjured up a team of fun-loving wine experts to both entertain and educate attendees, all wrapped up with party music, photo booths and temporary tattoos. This truly is a wine Riot. There are two sessions; 1-5 p.m. and 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $50 per session.

Taste of Greece - Saturday, May 12th 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Doukénie Winery, 14727 Mountain Road Hillsboro VA 20132

What: If you're looking to explore the local wine scene, then consider joining the Bazaco family at their Virginia winery. This is a family-centric fun day featuring an authentic Greek menu and music. Enjoy outdoor wine tastings, Mounted Horse Games, face painting and educational seminars and tours regarding the importance of terroir. General admission is $25 per person, children and designated drivers $10. Rain or shine. Call Maria at 540-668-6464 for additional information.

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