Today was day two of my first ever Wine Bloggers Conference. So far this has been an overwhelming experience and I’ve learned countless things and met so many of my wine loving peers. I barely had one free minute today so I thought I’d do a quick recap of today’s events (albeit I’m currently writing this at 2:15 am).
The highlights of Friday’s conference were:
Informative lectures including The Ethics of Wine Writing from Fred Swan, Fact Checking & Finding Sources from Wine Business Monthly editor Cyril Penn, and Enriching Your Wine Vocabulary from Andrea Robertson.
A deli lunch hosted by El Dorado Wines, one of California’s oldest winemaking regions. The El Dorado area brought more than two dozen winemakers, all from family-owned wineries, to pour their wines and discuss them with tables full of bloggers. The individual winery production ranged anywhere from 500 cases up to 20,000 cases. This was the highlight of the day for me. Being able to connect with the actual folks behind the bottle and sharing in the excitement and enthusiasm for these wines and the wine region was a fantastically rewarding experience.
Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC Wine Discovery Session, a special wine tasting seminar of the unusual Turbiana wines from Northern Italy. I chose this seminar because not only do I absolutely adore Italy, I’d never tried any of these white wines before. Eager to learn more about the region that lies near Lake Garda, I was most surprised by the overall saline minerality of the wines. It’s amazing what the soil can do to a wine and here the calcareous clay works to preserve the grape’s natural acidity while also yielding incredibly complex flavors (think of a salty lemon)!
A rousing and often hilarious address delivered by Doug Frost, one of only four individuals in the world to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier titles. Frost’s advice to wine bloggers? “Be yourself.” Oh, and my personal favorite: “when it’s a shitty wine, it’s a shitty wine.” That’s a man after my own heart!
The overwhelming and world famous WBC Live White & Rosé Wine Blogging, a.k.a. “wine speed dating.” I had a ton of fun with this event as it challenged me to be quick on my feet (or was it with my fingers?) as I frantically asked questions, furiously snapped photos, and quickly interviewed each winemaker for live social media postings as they visited our table in 5 minute increments to pour their wine before they rotated to the next table. At first I found this stressful but it became invigorating within minutes. Can’t wait for the Live Red Wine Blogging session tomorrow!
Ending the day with a casual dinner excursion to Martin Ray Winery and trying a large portfolio of white and red wines (including a killer Chardonnay that retails for the bargain price of $23) and a buffet style spread of woodfired pizzas with playful toppings like pear with potato, macaroni and cheese with sweet potatoes, green beans, and roasted cauliflower. It was a vegetarian’s dream come true but even meat eaters were in foodie heaven.
That’s just a brief summary of my packed day here at the WBC! Stay tuned for Saturday’s update.