WHEN IS Atlantic City's famed Boardwalk not a Boardwalk?
This weekend, when it will be transformed into the world's largest wine bar.
Tomorrow and Sunday, the Great Wood Way will be an oenophile's fantasyland as the first Do AC Boardwalk Wine Promenade is staged along the oceanside pedestrian thoroughfare.
"We have created a really unique event that celebrates the beauty and excitement of the Boardwalk through the lens of food and wine," offered Leslie Sbrocco, the TV wine expert ("The Today Show," PBS' "Check Please!") who curated and is hosting the all-weather, two-day bash.
"We got all 12 casino properties together, and we have partnered them up and created destinations along the Boardwalk. We have seven different destinations that all bring to life themes that we feel are representative of the Boardwalk," she said.
Those categories include the sun, "Monopoly" and the Miss America Pageant, which returns to the city of its birth this September after an eight-year Las Vegas run.
In all, 150 different wines, each handpicked by Sbrocco, will be offered for tasting during the event, produced by the Atlantic City Alliance, the town's casino-funded marketing entity. That, in theory, could lead to mass public intoxication. But Sbrocco, who stages wine tastings around the world, suggested that that shouldn't be a concern.
"We're very, very careful about measured pours," she said. "Typically a pour is one ounce [about one-sixth of a typical glass of wine]. And there will be dump buckets. We encourage people to take a sip and [spit it out]. And my advice to people is always to have as much water as wine. So, there shouldn't be too much of an issue."
While those of legal drinking age are invited to simply enjoy the sparkling wines, reds, whites, roses and other libations (as well as the munchies paired with the various types of vino), Sbrocco noted that unlike most festivals of this sort, the Boardwalk Wine Promenade, which will feature live music at Kennedy Plaza, also has an educational component.
"That's what sets this event apart from so many others I've been involved with," said Sbrocco. Both days at noon, she'll hold a seminar at Kennedy Plaza to help visitors make the most of their experience.
"We really wanted to make this valuable for folks. We're giving them the opportunity to do the 'Wine 101' with me. I've also written wine-tasting notes for every one of the wines that will be on the table. And I'll teach you how to taste wine like a pro."
On stage this month
Here are some casino entertainment highlights (tickets at ticketmaster.com unless otherwise indicated):
* There will be a battle of the classic-rock trios May 11 as prog-rockers Rush play Trump Taj Mahal (609-736-1420), while Revel presents ZZ Top (609-736-1420).
* The same night, comedy icon Joan Rivers dishes the dirt at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (866-900-4849, theborgata.com).
* On Memorial Day weekend: "Saturday Night Live" alumni Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon, May 24 at Tropicana Atlantic City (609- 736-1420); Ke$ha/Pitbull, May 25-26 at Golden Nugget Atlantic City (609-736-1420); and Mary J. Blige, May 25-26 at Caesars Atlantic City (609-736-1420).