People have been fermenting grapes and fruits to make alcoholic beverages since mankind crawled out of the primordial ooze. To sample a large selection of the latest creations in this ongoing scientific quest, you can raise your glass at the ninth annual Virginia Wine Expo, happening Wednesday-Sunday, Feb. 17-21, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. A dizzying array of tastings, showcases, seminars and workshops are taking place with an emphasis on Virginia and Italian wines. There will be flavors from more than 70 Virginia wineries and craft breweries to sample as well as hand-crafted whiskeys, ciders, specialty food, artisan burgers and smoked cuisine from all corners of the globe with which you can get acquainted. Call 349-6909 or visit virginiawineexpo.com.