The popularity of port wines and dessert wines is growing in the US and several of them are expected to get at least a second look tonight at the 9th annual Pittsburgh Wine Festival. Nearly 3,000- wine lovers are expected to descend on Heinz Field this evening for Grand Tasting. Many of them are sure to be looking to sample a nice port. “People are discovering that it is a great end to a meal to have a sweet wine maybe instead of that very sweet dessert, and sometimes it is in addition to the dessert,” says Pittsburgh Wine Festival President Ed Harrell.
Port wines sales in the US were up nearly 7% last year. The sale of dessert wines, including ice wines, has grown by as much as 60% in the last five years according to industry statistics. Ice wines are made from grapes that have frozen while still on the vine.
Harrell says some of the best ice wines are not surprisingly coming out of Canada. Harrell says he was even served a Canadian ice wine at a high-end restaurant in Napa Valley. “So if Napa thinks it’s good, the Canadians are doing O.K.”
More than 150 wineries from around the world will be pouring their wares. Proceeds from auctions at the event and wine dinners leading up to the testing will go the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for cancer research.