California Dreamin’, the US Winebloggers Conference ’08
Having attended both the European Winebloggers Conference and the US conference, I couldn’t say which was better. It’s like asking a mother to pick her favourite child, impossible. They were both fantastic in their own way.
First off, both were in beautiful country but then again wine country just has to be beautiful. The US conf. started out with a hilltop lunch and tasting at Kick Ranch vineyards, where we had the opportunity to try wines made by various producers using both their own grapes and Kick Ranch grapes.
There were quite a few events on the first day, not only did we have the hilltop tasting and lunch, immediately after we had a live blogging event, then a blind tasting challenge which I didn’t get a chance to attend because I had palate fatigue by then and I wanted to be ready for the NZ winetasting. I should have gone to the tasting challenge because I was disappointed by the NZ wines, especially since I know how good their wines can be (Vidal Wines post).
We had two keynote speakers, Gary Vaynerchuck from Wine Library and Alice Feiring. Gary was an amazing keynote speaker, very motivational. After his talk, I wanted to go out and kick some ass!! Unfortunately, I wasn’t familiar with Alice’s work (but no one knew who Jancis Robinson was so I didn’t feel too bad, not knowing my American cousins, so to speak) apparently she called out California on their big reds, something I totally agree with, but she was funny and gave a good speech. Dinner at Sebastiani Winery was good but really it was all about the social interaction. Before dinner we had a Sonoma wine tasting with some great stuff on offer.
The last day was the unconference, an opportunity for us to have roundtable discussions about whatever caught our fancy. I thought this was one of the best parts of the conference because it allowed free flowing interaction and exchange of information.
It all ended too soon with a luxe Sonoma wine tasting, some great stuff from Jordan Winery, Flower Winery, and the Siduri Winery accompanied by a sandwich lunch. The best thing about the conference was all the great bloggers I met. Bloggers like Dennis and Julie Grimes (Eagles Nest Winery in San Diego) Joe and Amy Power (anotherwineblog.com) Larry Lapides ( Vicivino.com) Robin Gheesling (vineyardadventures.com), Neil Crain ( wineenabler.com) and so many more.
All in all a great time and totally worth the time and effort to get from London to California. I can’t wait for the next one!