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1WineDude | A Serious Wine Blog for the Not-So-Serious Drinker - Page 325

The 1WD @ The WBC08 (or "How Drunk You Can Expect Me to Be This Weekend")

Vinted on October 22, 2008 binned in wine bloggers conference, wine blogging, wine industry events
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HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

What do you, me, and the upcoming first-ever North American Wine Bloggers Conference (Oct. 24-26 2008 – yes, it’s on a weekend, presumably because none of us wine bloggers make any money blogging so we have day jobs during the week) have in common?

I dunno, either.

Uhm…. We’re all carbon-based life forms consisting mostly of water, that like to drink wine?

Other than that, I’m not really sure. And okay, conferences technically don’t drink wine; conference attendees drink wine.

Anyway, this week I’m off to the Flamingo Resort in the greater Sonoma area to take part in the 2008 WBC. What this means is that you can expect to see some poorly scheduled and erratic posting activity from me over the next 10 days as I try to capture at least some of what the WBC event is all about. Plus, I’ve got some time off in Sonoma after the WBC to hang out with Mrs. Dudette and the little Dude-el. Family QT, here I come!

I’m not sure exactly which parts of the 2008 WBC I’m going to cover. I’m sure that the event is going to be a blast for us wine bloggers, and I expect a good number of my wine blogging colleagues to cover the event in detail. What you shouldn’t expect from me during the next week and half are any boring recaps of the WBC breakout topics. Nothing against my fellow wine bloggers or the WBC organizers (who have done a fantastic job with the agenda), but I just can’t imagine the average wine-drinking dude or dudette 1WineDude.com reader has much interest in reading about how to monetize wine blogs, or the waxing philosphic of how wine blogging can achieve media credibility.

Hell, I’m a wine blogger and I barely care about those topics. But… I think that you might care about some of the other awesome stuff that is going down at the WBC this week (click here for details).

What you can expect from me during the next week and half:

  • Live Tasting right here on 1WineDude.com! At 6:30 PM ET on Oct. 24 (Friday), I will be blogging LIVE with tasting notes from the WBC Live Wine Blogging “Taste-a-thon” (wherein bloggers like me will be seated at tables to which wineries will ‘rotate’ with a very limited window for us to taste and blog about the wines). You can come right here to 1WineDude.com to track my (increasingly drunken?) progress during the tasting. We’ll be trying out CoverItLive.com for this… hopefully it works… Anyway, I’m going to try my best to adhere to my own advice (hint: it invloves spitting) when it comes to pacing myself during the first day of the event, which has us inundated with wine tastings, but I can’t promise I’ll be entirely sober for this one!
  • Recaps (eventually) of the Kiwi Wine Tasting, Sonoma Grand Tasting, and the Vineyard and Winery visits that are planned during the weekend.
  • Opus One Winery visit. I’ve been invited by the venerable Opus One winery to visit them as part of a series of posts that I will be doing on West Coast vs. East Coast wine making… which will culminate next month in a blind taste-off between the Left & Right coasts! Stay tuned…
  • General goofiness as it ensues. Well… duh

For more on the Wine Bloggers Conference agenda and setup, check out winebloggersconference.org. For detail on just how much wine is going to be put in front of us during the conference, check out WBC coordinator Allan Wright‘s interview at WineBizRadio.com. Let’s just say we will almost always be presented with the option to refuse some wine during the weekend.

Cheers!
(images: 1WineDude.com, maps.google.com)

I Hope Steve Heimoff Kicks My Ass (Thoughts on the Wine Bloggers Tasting Challenge)

Vinted on October 20, 2008 binned in commentary, wine bloggers conference, wine industry events

You know what?

I hope that Steve Heimoff kicks my ass.

Not literally, of course (hey, I didn’t study a bit of Wing Chun for nothin’!), but tastingly. (Is tastingly a word? Ah, who cares – adverbs kick ass!).

Who is Steve, and why should I want him to kick ass? And how does this relate to wine? Well… it’s… complicated

It actually has to do with the first-ever North American Wine Bloggers Conference being held this week in Sonoma, which both Steve amd I are attending (more on that later in the week). At about 5PM PT on Friday, some of the attendees will be taking part in a Wine Bloggers’ Blind Tasting Challenge – as described by the conference organizers:

Bloggers will test their skills in identifying grape varietals and regions. Because we will have only local Sonoma wines, the competition will focus on identifying the type of grape, determining the vintage year or AVA within Sonoma County, matching the wine to the label description, etc. This will be a social exercise with small groups sitting around tables and will be done in rounds, going from easy to hard. Ultimately, one winner will be crowned as the “Wine Blogger Top Taster”.

The last sentence is the one that seems to be causing some controversy among some of the wine blogging community. The controversial piece being the media coverage planned for this portion of the conference, the reaction to which you can read in detail in this not-so-safe-for-work discussion on the Wine Bloggers Conference group at OpenWineConsortium.org (title: “What Bullsh*t is this? So much for the Wine Bloggers Conference“).

The competition itself is meant to be friendly, with (hopefully) some fun moments with the media on hand to capture it all. The counter argument is that the media coverage will in effect exploit a community that has had its fair share of media exploitation already this year.

And it’s my hope that Steve (remember him?) takes part in the competition and kicks our blogging asses.

Because that would show us bloggers (myself included) that we have a lot yet to learn about wine and the art of tasting it, and eloquently writing about it. It’s easy for us to lose sight of that and get caught up in the ‘side show’ media elements of blogging. It’s great to have an opinion, but we also need to know what we’re talking about – and for wine, that foundation is built in tasting. As Lao Tzu said, “the great way is easy, but people chose the side paths…”

Oh, yeah, regarding Steve - he’s an author and long-time wine writer for Wine Enthusiast, and he is also a wine blogger. As such, he straddles the ‘newer’ and ‘older’ worlds of blogging and traditional wine media in a unique way. He’s a good blogger, too, in that he’s smart and opinionated enough to get people thinking about, talking about, and sometimes really, really not liking his takes on the world of wine. Steve and I have traded both barbs and compliments on-line, and I’ve got a lot of respect and patience for him – and I’m looking forward to meeting him in Sonoma, because I’d love to interview him about his take on the future of wine writing.

Anyway, Steve probably tastes hundreds to thousands of wines per year. This is way, way above the total tasted by most wine bloggers, myself included, by a factor of… well, I hate math but I’m sure the factor would be measured exponentially (ah – another kick-ass adverb!).

Which means that if he participated in the Blind Tasting Challenge, Steve could unleash a Chuck Norris level of whoop-ass on the rest of us.

That’s a good thing.

Because sometimes, we need that to keep our progressive, opinionated, but ultimately well-meaning blogger banter in perspective. Wine has been good to us bloggers, and not a day goes by when I’m not grateful to wine in some way/shape/form.

And I’m certainly not above having my butt handed to me (as I expect to have happen at the Bind Tasting) if it means I’m going to learn something and have another opportunity to increase my debt of gratitude towards wine.

Let the ass-kickings commence!

Oh, before I go… Steve, if you’re out there reading this, you should know that a Google image search of your name turns up this little ditty… I suppose there is some resemblance… not sure if it’s you but I really, really hope it is… and if it is, do you still have the Jethro Tull-style hat?


Cheers!
(images: steveheimoff.com, winebloggersconference.org, umass.edu)

Get Your Buzz On: the Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

Vinted on October 17, 2008 binned in wine 2.0

For a while now (not sure how long exactly… after a certain amount of wine those sort of details get fuzzy…), I’ve been part of an on-line community called Foodbuzz.

I’m what they call a featured publisher, and to be honest I’m not sure exactly what that means, except that I was kindly invited into the community at the ground level to help them seed the wine-related side of their foodie content (as well as Philly-area food content) in preparation for their official launch.

Full disclosure: I’m also an affiliate with Foodbuzz, which means that once every blue moon I get a $4 PayPal payment from clickthrus, but I hope you will believe me when I say that this isn’t exactly buying them coverage with this post – I just wanted to mention them because their site looks like a very cool spot for foodies to hang out and connect. At times I’ve found the website a bit sluggish, and the tabs and menus can be difficult to navigate (for me, anyway), but otherwise it’s top-notch.

Foodbuzz has been on my ever-growing list of social networking sites that I need to spend more time on, sadly a list that has been expanding exponentially since the birth of my baby daughter.

But… if I was going to jump into a foodie network ASAP, then Foodbuzz would be the place.

Not only do they now have 1000+ bloggers from nearly 50 countries providing interesting (not to mention mouthwatering) foodie content, they are also one of the nicest group of affiliates that I’ve ever been involved with, on-line or off.

The reason I’m mentioning this is that Foodbuzz has officially launched its online publisher community - you can check out the details here – which means that you can join up.

I’ve just this week finally met up with the local Foodbuzz featured publisher crew for dinner and drinks – always a tasty proposition in the Philly corner of the world – at Fork in Old City Philadelphia, which has a very interesting wine list, by the way, and great eats. Following is a list of the other Philly-area Foodbuzz Featured Publishers that attended – click away and check out their way cool foodie blogs:

The Real Potato
Trav’s Gone Gluten-Free
Food Enthusiast
Foodaphilia
Food Nerd
I’ll Eat You
FriedWontons4u
When words Fail
Five Spice Duck
Dream Kitchen
John and Lisa are Eating in South Jersey

These are all talented writers and passionate foodie peeps – so go check them and Foodbuzz out (and pay Foodbuzz more attention than I have lately!). If you join up at Foodbuzz, feel free to friend me up while you’re there.

Cheers!
(image: flickr.com – snddsn)

"Wine on Tuesdays" on a Wednesday (Book Review)

Vinted on October 15, 2008 binned in book reviews

I figured that it was about time for another book review on 1WineDude.com, so I’m jumping back into the book review swing of things with my take on Debra & Keith Gordon’s Wine on Tuesdays: Be a Serious Wine Drinker Without Taking Wine Too Seriously.

[ Full disclosure: I received a media copy of Wine on Tuesdays. Not that Dude doesn't buy his own books, but... ]

The Low Down
Co-author Debra Gordon is no stranger to wine writing, having penned material for Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Vines, and Wine Adventures. She and husband co-author Keith are also dabbling in blogging.

Wine on Tuesdays reflects the Gordon’s writing experience – it’s well-written, accessible, and at turns funny and engaging. The tone of Wine on Tuesdays is lighthearted and its target is squarely on the wine novice, which puts it into the now-very-crowded field of wine introduction texts.

Which is the main problem with reviewing Wine on Tuesdays - it’s good, but (for me) lacked any real “wow” moments to give me a clear picture of its ideal target audience. While I found some topics covered superbly well (it has one of the best intro chapters on Champagne that I’ve ever come across), other topics (usually the more complex ones, notably dessert wines) are casually treated and maybe a touch oversimplified – which could be confusing for some readers, especially those new to wine… who theoretically happen to be the target audience…

Buy It or Skip It?
That depends.

Given the tone and overall style of Wine on Tuesdays, If you’re a budding wine lover you could do a lot worse than this well-written guide. Whether or not you will enjoy it is largely a matter of presentation – with so many great overall wine introduction guides available in the marketplace, the one best suited to you may really be down to writing style preference and the order of how the topics are presented. If you want to get into wine in a very structured way, starting with grape varietals first, then try Wine on Tuesdays. If you prefer a less structured approach, then there are better options.

It won’t replace my current favorite wine intro book, Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, and it probably won’t make its way into my list of Essential Wine Reads, but Wine on Tuesdays is certainly a viable alternative for budding wine enthusiasts – enjoyable, and packed full of relevant and helpful wine info.

Cheers!
(images: amazon.com)

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