Wine Bloggers Conference 2012: Ten Observations
"The winemaking is heartfelt. The wineries are small, independent and taking on the world.” ~ National Geographic Traveler commenting on the Carlton Winemakers Studio.
Well-well it's time to say "See ya later, Alligator" to the wonderful 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference. For me personally I had a great time, Mrs. Cuvee to a lesser extent [wilted a bit in the heat] and the lack of sleep caught up with her and I both a bit on Saturday night. But, wow it was so much fun catching up with so many friends from the International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop, the very recent Rioja Top-Bloggers road-trip folks and last years wonderful Navarre discovery tour.
Now I know I've waited a bit before releasing my observations about this recent Wine Bloggers Conference. For many, they like to strike while the iron is hot and honestly who can blame them. But I wanted to take a few more days to think about the experience. And yes, it was an experience to take it all in and then let it all go, oozing all over an unsuspecting drooling herd of vino-sapiens [as if there was such a thing]. But that said, I've think I have at least ten observations that I hope will inspire others to attend in the future, makes me think about what could have been and perhaps encourage others to take a deeper look into the Oregon wine-scene, so here we go.
1. This great [well-oiled-machine] event we've all come to know and appreciate as the Wine Bloggers Conference, gave
2. For me, I was surprised and humbled by many who counted me as inspiration, a helping hand or as a blogger cited as "doing-it" right. Wow, thanks so much to everyone for publicly stating those favorable impressions. It's with big thanks and mucho gratitude to Shawn Burgert [aka, A Wandering Wino], Kim Johnson [aka, D’ Vine Wine Time] and Heather Unwin, representing the Red Mountain AVA that I say, thank you and to everyone else who has given me a virtual-high five over the years.
3. Having been to the Oregon Wine Scene once before this conference, more than a few years back, there have been many changes and many new producers who have joined the fray. All of which I'm so glad to see. But that said, I'd have to say that while I appreciated sampling the efforts of many new producers, a few of the old guard as well, some of my favorites, what I call the "heavy-hitters' were absent from the conversation. So for you folks who possibly are wondering "what did I miss" or you're relatively new to Oregon wine, may I suggest checking out the likes of Ken Wright Cellars, Beaux Freres, Patricia Green Cellars, Bergstrom Wines and lastly a trip to the Carlton Winemakers Studio is a must for any vino-sapien in the audience. If I left any off of this very short list please feel free to mention them in the comments below.
4. Again, like I said before in contrast to where I live here in
6. I discovered what I know will become a favorite to anyone else who experiences their wine; a new favorite producer on the Orgundian Wine Trail and that producer is Hawks View Cellars. After our bus load of bloggers finished piling into their well-appointed and comfortable tasting room, located in
7. Most of know that the No. 1 Oregon varietal by far is Pinot Noir, making up 60 percent of total acreage and wine production, closely followed by Pinot Gris. But not only is
known for its Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, but now there's also a relatively new kid on the block, known as white Pinot Noir, which has the appearance of Pinot Blanc. A wine made from the same Pinot Noir grapes, but it now being used to make a white wine, called White Pinot Noir. A wine you'll find many producers are now adding to expand their portfolios along with other cool climate favorites like Viognier and stand-by Chardonnay. What you'll find in most of these wines is that White Pinot Noir is often very refreshing; buoyed by good acidity, while offering up delicate and sometimes shy aromas of apples, pears, wet-river stone and a slap on a honey-bees ass. Oregon
8. The excursions, oh the pre-conference excursions, folks honestly if you go to these conferences and you don't take the excursions, you're missing the boat. Nearly everyone I spoke with and nearly every conversation I overheard was super positive about the pre-conference excursions. Are they perfect, umm no, but do the positives far out-weigh the negatives, hell yeah they do. I only wish there had been a post conference excursion as well, like the one to
9. Many [not all] the wineries were on the ball with invites to bloggers for extracurricular activities, before during and after the conference. A hardy round of virtual applause to you all, I'm sorry I was not able to attend all the many wonderful events that were planned. Now that said, one of the events I was able to attend was what I have dubbed as "Blend Camp" at R. Stuart and Co. and thank you Maria. Why, well I like to name things, I like to give folks, friends, events and other stuff in my life nick names. Anyway, a group of about 25 bloggers attended a post conference event where we had a very tasty lunch and then were invited to work with a group of other bloggers to come up with our very own blend to have shipped home. This was a highly fascinating and fun event that involved what it really takes to come up with a blend, no easy task, as many other teams found out.
10. "We don't need no stinking badges" sorry to disagree with the pot-prophets from the eighties, but we really need to change the badge format in my opinion. The name badges are so small and could have really emphasized the twitter handles a lot more prominently than they did. For me, I really only know most folks by their twitter handle; it would have made recognizing most folks much easier.
The writing was pretty small and obscured by the background image, so small in fact, I really had to look at each one more than once to know who I was talking with, a bit embarrassing. Second, geez I hope those badges will get steam-cleaned or something, because I know those badges went places most folks may not want to talk about.
Well folk that’s it for today, but after creating a list like this, it leaves me wondering what your own observations were. I'd really like to hear from many as you as possible, about your own experiences, positive or negative no matter. I really enjoyed seeing everyone again this year and I can't wait to see some of you again next year or hopefully before that if at all possible. If any of you find yourself in my wonderful little town of