Wine Bloggers Conference, July 22, 2011

Thomas Jefferson was founder and architect of the University of Virginia.  Conceived by 1800 and established in 1819, it is the only university in the United States to be designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, an honor it shares with nearby Monticello.  Day 1 of the conference started with an optional walking tour of the campus.  I was not able to go due to the weather heating up, which eventually turned into a sweatbath.  We found out later that it was the hottest day in Charlottesville in 11 years!

Indoors however, was the meeting of the sponsors which was a lot of fun.  They were very approachable, charming, and gracious, ready to make us feel welcome, and, of course offering their wine portfolios.  After that was the keynote address with Jancis Robinson.

As we all had thought from the start, Jancis was absolutely entertaining, thought-provoking, very approachable, and full of solid information.  Dead on for the perfect keynote speaker.

One of the things that bothered me throughout the conference was that there was little to no food offered anytime during the day (none that I knew of anyway).  From 9am to 6pm, there was no food anywhere and the schedule did not allow any time to even run out and grab something.   The ironic thing too was that a friend of mine asked that afternoon, “Where can a girl get a glass of wine around here”?  So true, here we were at a conference for wine bloggers and there was no wine to be had between the keynote address at 1:15pm and the live wine blogging at 4:20pm.  No food and no wine???

Being afraid of suffering from heatstroke (I’m hot-blooded – no comments), I had to avoid almost all of the social events that were offered at the WBC11, as they were outside.  Friday night there was a wonderful evening planned at Monticello; however, the event was held outside under an open tent.  I did not go, but I did hear that people were dropping like flies.  After the visit to Monticello was the “Other 46” tasting at the hotel.  Just as the international grand tasting from the night before, there were far less presenters of wine than you would think.  There may have been about 6? states represented.  So sad.

Oh well…there were social events being held in the hotel during and after Monticello, but they were private, “secret”, invitation only, parties.  I suppose as a first time attendee and beginning blogger I did not personally know enough people for any invites.  So sad.

I have read that some people did most of their networking during these private parties and felt that the conference itself didn’t offer much except for those parties.  So sad.