This week marks the kick-off of the 4th annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference, held (for the first time in its history) on the Right Coast (Charlottesville, VA, to be exact). And I’m excited to be attending for the fourth time.
I’m excited to see old friends. I’m excited by the fact that this year’s conference is on the East Coast. I’m excited to be moderating one of the breakout session panels. I’m excited to see who takes away the 2011 Wine Blog Awards (even though I’m a finalist for Best Overall Wine Blog, my money in that category is on Tom Wark – like Japan in the recent Women’s World Cup, he’s the sentimental fave, after all). I’m excited to see the keynote speakers and get a chance to talk to them again in person, because I can tell you from personal experience that they’re as gracious, talented and delightful a duo of wine communicators as ever walked the planet. I’m excited that every year I personally know a smaller and smaller percentage of the conference attendees. I’m excited about the whole f*cking thing.
Ok, I’m not that excited about the drive down I-95, actually. But other than that, I’m looking forward to all of it. Even the wine speed-dating stuff, if just to see which producers pull it off successfully, and which ones stumble and do the on-line equivalent of a vinous face-plant (dear wine producer participants: sorry in advance for the schadenfreude). If you’re attending, then I’m excited to meet you – even if you’re that PR guy who keeps emailing me about when I’ll try your clients’ wines (your answer, by the way: I don’t know). I’m excited to see people walking around in colonial reenactment garb… and teasing them with offers to sip whatever wine I have in my glass at the time (okay, I wouldn’t stoop that low… I think…).
I’m excited because I’m a geek, I’m in love with wine the way that I’m in love with music and almost as much as I love my daughter – and I’m about to go hang out with a supportive community of like-minded geeks for the better part of three days, in a beautiful part of the country, in an area where an historic-and-now-budding wine industry is trying to secure its footing in the national wine market.
I’m not sure it gets much better than that. Actually, I’m quite sure it doesn’t get better than that. Unless vintage port will also be poured… by lingerie models in swimwear…
But what I’m most excited about?
My past forays with VA wine have had mixed results, and there have been no shortage of people offering me but-onlys and what-ifs about those experiences. So, I’m most excited to see if those people are right – I’m most excited to see if the VA wine industry brings its A-game to this conference.
More to come from Virginia, where the proof will be in the anti-Federalist pudding…
When I agreed with South American PR firm Brandabout to join them on a wine-touring excursion to Chile and Argentina, I never expected to come back with enough material to fill a novella. But that’s more or less what happened – and that’s after shelving the idea for about five more articles from the trip.
Over the last six months or so, I’ve featured the good, the bad, the ugly, and the stunning from my South American jaunt, all with the intention of trying to provide coverage that is more personal, in-depth, and human that you might otherwise find when it comes to on-location wine coverage. While helpful in introducing you to a wine region, the tourist-angle stuff rarely gets into the nitty-gritty of what the wines – and the people – are really like, on their own turf and their own terms.
Hopefully, the stories from my travels brought you close to those kinds of insights, or taught you something new, or engendered an idea to try a wine that maybe you’ve never heard of before. Or at the very least kept your mind of your mortgage/rent payment for a few minutes and kept you from surfing porn…
Below, after the jump, are links to the entire wrap-up of coverage from that trip, along with some images that didn’t make it to full-blown articles but that I wanted to share. As always, I welcome your feedback (comments, emails, tweets, fb messages, carrier pigeon…) on what you liked/loathed/loved about the coverage!
Read the rest of this stuff »
Uhm, like what is this stuff?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine sample tasting notes via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be fun, quickly-and-easily-digestible reviews. Below is a wrap-up of the twitter reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find them so you can try them for yourself. Cheers!
- 00 D’Oliveiras Madeira Moscatel Reserva (Madeira): That’s 1900, folks. Has the spicy spirit of a spinster. About as good as it gets. $500 A+ >>find this wine>>
- 06 Modus Operandi Vicarious (Napa Valley): Pushing the limits of ripe dark berry; but damn, that concentrated fruit is easy to like. $39 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 07 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel (Sonoma County): Peppery spice pushes this steakhouse fave a few paces ahead of the jammy Zin pack. $35 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 08 J Vineyards Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Black Raspberry+ Spices = Hedonist’s Delight. Even more solid (& fun) than the 07. $35 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 10 J Vineyards Pinot Gris (CA): Floral, tropical & uncomplicated; in other words, just about a perfect pairing for a hot Summer night $16 B- >>find this wine>>
- 07 Red Newt Cellars Dry Riesling Reserve (Finger Lakes): Big, & moody; but there’s true beauty in its apricot, apple & citrus zest. $24 B >>find this wine>>
The 2011 West of West Wine Festival is almost around the corner – held in Occidental, CA, the festival will showcase cool-climate (well, cool-climate for CA, that is!) Pinots, Syrahs and Chardonnays; limited production wines from wineries that are not usually open to the public. These are West Sonoma Coast producers who are making vino that is not easy to get your grubby wine-lovin’ hands on – unless you’re selected as the winner of our latest giveaway, that is.
I’ve got one ticket to the the West of West Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting on Saturday, August 6th from 3:00-6:00 pm in Occidental, CA – a $125 value, which we’re giving away to one lucky randomly-selected commenter! The giveaway also includes free access to the Barrel Tastings & Open Houses on Sunday, August 7th (details to be provided in the Grand Tasting).
The skinny: YOU leave a comment on this post, letting us know your fave Sonoma wine recommendation (in keeping with the theme, Coastal recommendations are preferable but let’s keep it open to all of Sonoma). At 8PM ET on Wednesday, July 20 I will randomly select a winner from the commenters, who will be notified via e-mail. Easier than suckin’ down a chilled Sonoma Coast Chard on a hot Summer night. So get crackin’, peeps!
The fine-print: This ticket admits one person to the above-described Grand Tasting event on August 6th and includes free access to the event’s Barrel Tastings & Open Houses on August 7th. No travel, meals, accommodations, “escorts,” hovercraft (though that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?), monkeys (also awesome) or anything else provided.
Looking forward to reading about your faves!
Cheers – and good luck!!