July 2011


Wine Bloggers Conference, Thursday, July 21
International Wine Tasting Night
Let me first say that I was a scholarship recipient, and for that I am quite grateful.  Thank you for all the people who donated to the scholarship fund.  If it hadn’t been for them, I would not have made it to the WBC.  With that being said; however, I was quite disappointed in the reality of the conference, for the most part.  As a first time participant, maybe my expectations did not match that of the organizers.

These are my thoughts on the first event of the conference, an international wine tasting night, which I was quite excited about.  As it turned out there were a total of 6 tables pouring wines, this to me is quite a poor showing. I’m not saying that the wines were not good, some were tasty, but we were an incredible, captured audience wanting to try a variety of wine – we blog about it, tweet about it, FB about it – talk about free press, yet it didn’t seem like very many wineries, distributors, or importers were very interested in showing their portfolios.  Disappointing for us, and bad decision for them.  Many of the pourers were just that, someone who was called in at the last minute who had no idea what they were pouring, where the wines were from, what the tasting notes were, or any type of story behind the wine.  They even confessed that they knew nothing about the wine.  For a WBC, you would think they would be prepared to talk about the wines at length.  Review of day 2 coming up.

Extraordinary Women of Spain: Chefs and Winemakers

A co-created travel project from – Epicopia Culinary Journeys & Epicurean Ways

The first travel experience offered in this Extraordinary Women of Spain series will feature the women chefs & winemakers of the Basque Country, La Rioja and Barcelona regions. The creation of the Extraordinary Women of Spain program is a co-operative project of Epicurean Ways and Epicopia Culinary Journeys.  This first travel experience will be offered in late May/early June 2012. The 10 night program is limited to maximum of 15 guests.  Designed for women only the experience is hosted by Spain’s leading woman wine and food specialist guide.

Epicurean Ways is the foremost designer of “uncommon wine and culinary experiences in Spain.” Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Epicurean Ways is a proud sponsor of the North American Wine Bloggers Conference July 22 – 24, 2011. Founded by Jane Gregg, Epicurean Ways offers private custom food and wine tours in Spain. Each trip is designed according to the highest standards. Drawing on intimate knowledge of Spanish cuisines, regions and cultures developed over many years of experience in Spain, Epicurean Ways
partners with the finest Spanish chefs, winemakers and guides for each unique program.

Well, talk about kismet!  I happen to be attending the conference Jane Gregg is sponsoring.  As Epicopia Culinary Journeys (see below) is a client of mine (My company is A to Zinfandel Social Media for ~ wine ~ food ~ tourism industries.), this is a wonderful opportunity to meet Jane and discuss the trip at length from her perspective.

Epicopia Culinary Journeys, founded in 2006 by Harold D. Partain, CTC, CCTP was created to provide clients and guests with the ultimate in food & wine travel experiences. Originally conceived as a collection of travel experiences the company has evolved to be a premier designer and creator of small group, individual and family culinary focused adventures.

“We believe cuisine is the tactile connection to breathing history. Culture and history we can taste. Our motto is ‘eat local, drink local
with the locals’ …”

The Wine Bloggers Conference starts July 21st, just 5 days a way in Charlottesville, VA.  I’m so excited I would actually think about swirl, sip, and NOT spit!  Heaven forbid.  The night of July 21st is the International Wine Tasting Night – to sip and spit, or to sip and swallow – what a dilemma!  Some of the sponsors that have graciously offered wine for the event include Wines of Chile, Wines of South Africa, Aveniu Brands, Vibrant Rioja, and Planet Bordeaux.

I may know your opinion of wine bloggers – stuffy, full of verbose tasting notes- well, that’s not me – I’ve studied at the International Sommelier Guild (ISG), but I have a long way to go educationally speaking – I like it, or I don’t – it’s that simple.

Speaking of a down to earth, full of education (Master of Wine), author, speaker, James Beard Award Winner (well, I could go on and on), is Jancis Robinson.  Like I said, you may think of wine bloggers as trifle, but Jancis is a keynote speaker – quite the coup!  Wikipedia mentions that “She currently writes a weekly column for the Financial Times, and also writes for her website www.jancisrobinson.com.

I bought the 3rd edition of the book she compiled and edited, the Oxford Companion to Wine from Amazon, thinking it would be great to get her to autograph it.  OMG!  This hardback book is over 800 pages and weighs over six pounds – oh, you know, some light reading on the plane.  NOT an electronic copy obviously.  But the pictures and information are just astounding and simply wouldn’t do it justice in an electronic format.

Follow the conference events as we blog on Twitter – look for the hashtag #wbc11.  See you there personally or virtually!