Participating in my first wine walk, I was not sure what to expect other than a taste of four different wines at each of the five locations downtown. What I experienced was much greater than just the taste of wine.

The walk started at 5:30 at the Kingfish Bar and Grill in the downtown Hilton. This newly renovated historical building provided a great location for the start of the walk. The cozy, non-smoking bar started the evening with four exquisite wines, with my favorite being the Pinot Grogio.  By 6:30, about 15 people had made their way to Kingfish to kick off the wine walk, which next proceeded to Stroubes.

Just two blocks away, with a shortcut through the Shaw Center, Stroubes is a new full-service restaurant providing a delicious menu that is sure to grow in popularity. Stroubes had provided some delectable cheese and spreads with bread. Sipping on the excellent wine while dabbling in the cheese brought flashbacks of the cafes in Paris. The bartenders truly appreciated our business and were available to answer questions about each wine they offered.

By 7:30, the crowd had grown to about 25 and it was time for a trip back to the Shaw Center to the 6th floor.  Tsunami, which provides the most captivating view of a Baton Rouge sunset in the city, is the perfect location for the third hour of the walk. Watching the big red ball of energy set over the horizon to the west while sipping on wine and eating sushi made me appreciate more than the food and beverage; I counted my blessings to be fortunate enough to experience this moment.
The 8:30 hour arrived and it was time for the night-life to begin at the 333 Bistreaux, a short 3 block walk from the Shaw Center. 333 provided a mixture of bar stools and lounge area complete with plush love seats and comfortable chairs to sit back and take in the music while enjoying the taste of wine. The group of approximately 30 people had loosened up by this point in the evening and was mixing and mingling as old friends would.

The night cap would start during the fifth and final hour of the night at the Wine Loft. The 20 or so people who were able to make it to the fifth hour, enjoyed this classy venue which provides a combination of bar and lounge. With tucked away corners to enjoy one’s privacy, the Wine Loft is the perfect choice for ending the evening, or just getting it started, for the wine walk.

Overall, my impression of the wine walk is that it will grow tremendously once the word gets out about this wonderfully put together wine tasting which became a networking and meeting-new-people opportunity for the 30 or so participants. The venues, the wine, the food, the people and the atmosphere of this walk is what Baton Rouge needs more of to attract and retain the young professionals of the future. I will certainly make a return to this walk in the near future and hope to see you there.

Donald Hodge is a local attorney and civil rights activist. In his spare time, Donald enjoys experiencing local attractions and blogging about them. We welcome Donald as one of our Red Stick Bloggers.