Tag Archive for Wine

WBC14: My Thoughts on the Wine Bloggers Conference

It’s been a little over a week since I returned home from the Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton (WBC14), and I’ve had enough time to form some opinions on the experience. Overwhelmingly, those opinions are good, and they come from the perspective of a first-time attendee who didn’t entirely know what to expect from the event.

Did not expect ultrasound oxidation!

Did not expect ultrasound oxidation!

Did expect plenty of this.

Did expect plenty of this.

I wouldn’t qualify my experience as negative in any way. My thinky thoughts are more about defining what sort of wine writer I am and considering whether that fits into the WBC’s intended audience or not.

1. Value

The conference was run by Zephyr Adventures, which as their website rightfully claims, “specialize[s] in providing our travelers with big experiences from a small company at a fair price.” That company description exactly sums up my overall opinion of the conference. If nothing else, WBC14 offered two and a half days’ worth of unending wine tastings, two meals a day–

Fare at the Wine Blogger Awards dinner.

Fare at the Wine Blogger Awards dinner.

–the chance to get to know other wine writers and a bevy of industry professionals, and an afternoon spent at the Sanford Winery nestled in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA all for $100 for citizen bloggers like myself.

Next, add in the amazing value of the multiple excursions the conference put together. I attended the Bridlewood excursion for only $15, and we enjoyed a large picnic lunch at the winery’s immensely scenic grounds—

WBC_14_160

–tastings of their wines with the meal, and a panel of local food producers that resulted in yes, more food and wine.

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WBC 14: Best Wines

This is the first of several posts covering my experience at the Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC14) held in Buellton, CA, last weekend. I’ll feature one per week, likely through August, and why not start with what’s most important to me? Naturally, that’s the wines themselves.

Wines during the Blends break-out session.

Wines during the Blends break-out session.

Over the course of the conference, I tasted around 70 wines, the majority hailing from the Santa Barbara County (SBC) region. I was re-introduced to the beauty of the countryside of the Central Coast, something I rarely experienced while growing up in the city of Santa Maria. Turns out I really should have gotten out more.

Imagine…the wine world waiting for me outside of Old Orcutt!

Imagine…the wine world waiting for me outside of Old Orcutt!

But I digress. It’s the wines I’m talking about in this post, not the sunsets over hillsides. After two liveblogging tasting sessions, two workshops on wine blends and the syrahs of Ballard Canyon, two trips to wineries and more tastings there, and multiple big-tent tasting opportunities over brunches, lunches, dinners, and desserts, these 11 wines stood out to me. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

In no particular order….

1. Charles Krug 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

I gave this wine, the last one I tried during the white wine liveblogging session, my highest rating of the weekend, though I suspect #11 below might beat it had I taken the time to write down my notes. Regardless, this interloper from Napa Valley overflowed with honeysuckle and exceptionally flavorful Crenshaw melon. When sipping, lime mellowed the sweetness of those two flavors, creating a divine blend.

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My Wine Writing Philosophy

This Thursday marks the beginning of the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference, the first professional wine writing conference I’ll have attended.

This is professional wine blogger behavior, right?

It’s located in Buellton, which cracks me up because I spent my formative years just thirty minutes away in Santa Maria and honestly had no idea it was a wine region until I moved to the East Coast after college.

Unrelated to the conference, I’ve been asked what got me started wine blogging and why I write about wine a number of times lately, so I thought, what better time to jot down a treatise on that subject than right before I devote myself to it for four days straight?

First and foremost, I am not a journalist. I am not interested in the story behind the wine, how it came to be, or why the winemakers uprooted their Silicon Valley lives to devote themselves to burying cow horns, as the case may be.

Rob talking about the various crops behind him that included blackberries and raspberries.

From my fantasy writer’s perspective, however, biodynamic farming is super intriguing. This is Rob Bowers of Whitted Bowers Farm, the only certified biodynamic one on the East Coast.

In the six years I’ve been blogging and savoring wine, I’ve learned how that background ifnormation may enhance my wine appreciation, making it more well-rounded and giving me a shared vocabulary with other wine lovers. By all means, if you enjoy writing and/or reading articles about where wine comes from and the people who make it, carry on. I’m in the minority for not being all that interested in what’s going on in the soil or at the vineyard’s family dinner table.

But my primary interest remains the same. What does this glass of fermented grapes smell like, taste like, and would I drink it again?

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