So where were we?
Ahhh yes. I was about to tell you about my experience at the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference in the last post … but then I stopped. Because I’m a little tease.
If I could sum up the events on WBC 2009 into one picture …
Joel Vincent, The Wench & Don Quixote
… ahhh yes. That says it all.
Let’s start at the very beginning…
A very good place to start. When you you read you begin with A B C, when you sing you begin with Doh Rae Me. Ahhh what am I doing, this is not the time or place to start singing the infamous Bus #4 Beer Song (yet).
‘FOCUS WENCH, focus. Let us start with DAY ONE of the Wine Bloggers Conference.
The entire first day of the conference took place at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa, CA.
Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa
WBC Day One Itinerary was as follows –
11:00 AM Registration – Flamingo Hotel Lobby
11:00 AM Meet the Sponsors (ahem … drink wine from the sponsors)
12:00 AM Lunch with Sonoma Vintners and Sonoma Winegrape Commission (mmm fried rubber chicken anyone?)
Jeff Stai & Shana Ray
1:30 PM Lunch ends (and the real fun begins!)
Eric Hwang & The Wench
2:00 PM Welcome and Conference Overview (hmmm must have missed this part since I was obviously preoccupied with sticking my tongue out …)
The Wench & Michael Wangbickler
2:30 PM Live Wine Blogging (Rumor has it that our table — NC17 — caused quite a bit of confusion and chaos for the event organizers. Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil !!)
1WineDude, Michael Wangbickler & The Wench
This event was similar to speed dating. Roughly 17 wineries participated. They were each given 5 minutes to “spiel” and taste each table on their wines. (Even I had to spit during this …) My personal highlights included TWISTED OAK River of Skulls, Shramsburg Blanc de Blancs, Snows Lake ONE (100% Cab) and Snows Lake TWO (Cab & Cab Franc blend).
4:00 PM 2009 American Wine Blog Awards – presentation and Q&A with winners. (Once again, the tongue was out of control and I blame it all on Don Quixote — the infamous rubber chicken)
The Wench & Pinot Blogger
Shana Ray and I took an intermission from tasting wine to chow down on some cupcakes from Cupcake Winery made with their cabarnet frosting (mmmm good marketing gimic!)
Shana Ray & The Wench
5:45 PM Grand Tasting of Sonoma Wines — This event was held outside on the pool deck. Unfortunately, I ended up getting distracted during the Grand Tasting of Sonoma wines by a impromtu scavenger hunt for the “Andrew Jackson Dollarhide Ranch Medallion.” Naturally, my partner in crime (Oenoblog) and I found it (even if it did force us to miss out on some harcore wine tasting).
Ryan Reichert & The Wench
7:15 PM Dinner at the Flamingo with Sonoma County Tourism & Sonoma Valley Vintners; Keynote Address by Chris Alden of Six Apart. (I got the steak … mmmm beef)
9:00 PM After-hours party hosted by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers (what happens in the after hours — stays after hours. And despite the 50 degree weather outside, I did honor my promise to jump into the pool — which was rapidly followed by a dip in the hot-tub)
Thea The Wine Brat & Wenchie
And that brings us to … drum roll please …
WBC Day Two Itinerary was as follows –
9:00 AM Depart for The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley
Collage of CIA Greystone
10:15 AM Welcome followed with Keynote Address by Barry Schuler on “The Future of Blogging and Social Media”
11:15 AM Keynote Address by Jim Gordon on “The Future of Blogging and Wine Writing” (<– This speech I think I missed out on because a few of us delinquent bloggers snuck out the back door, down the stairs, outside, around the building, up the hill … and into the Greystone Restaurant for some kickass Bloody Marys. There is video evidence of such escapades, however, I will refrain from posting it on the blog do to its nausea inducing nature resulting from my inability to hold the camera still.)
12:15 PM Board Conference Buses and Depart for lunches at Napa Wineries (A group of us crazy kids decided to board the infamous Bus #4. Fortunately, what happens on Bus #4 DOES NOT STAY on bus #4.)
The Wench, Rob Bralow, Shana Ray
I was lucky enough to sit next to the founder of the Open Wine Consortium, Joel Vincent. The OpenWine Consortium (OWC) is a global wine industry association, featuring the world’s premier online wine business network, on a mission to improve the world of wine. OWC is also one of the major organizers of the WBC. I would love to say that I picked his brilliant mind for ideas and inspiration but, alas, Joel was afflicted with the pain of listening to me talk … and talk … and talk.
Joel Vincent & Wenchie
After a slight “detour” and passing around a bottle of wine, Bus #4 arrived at Couvaison Estate Winery for lunch.We were served a delicious assortment sandwiches, cold salads & cookies — which mostly came from local purveyors.
Couvaison poured us samples of their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Cabarnet. My favorite of the entire lot was the Pinot Noir. They were kind enough to gift us all with a bottle — naturally, I chose the Pinot Noir … and naturally, we drank it on the bus.
1:45 PM Napa Green presentation –We were informed all about Cuvaison’s green initiatives and dedication to sustainability and environmentally conscientious practices.
Cuvaison Carneros Vineyard Shot
“At Cuvaison there is a shared concern from the staff about climate change and we feel compelled to do what we can to reduce Cuvaison’s impact on our environment. Going solar and being certified Napa Green creates the most visual and obvious initiatives but they are only a few elements of what we are trying to achieve. We continue to look into the little ways of creating change within our own organization and through grassroots networks with our staff, their family and friends.” – President, Jay Schuppert
Bus #4 Group Shot at Cuvaison
And then it was back to Bus #4, which shipped us off to Staglin Family Vineyard which hosted our …
3:00 PM Vintner Discussion Panels. There were 3 wineries on the panel. Unfortunately, the names escape me. They did not provide any marketing collateral, either. So I am at a loss. Luckily, Don Quixote (the infamous rubber chicken) did take notes on some napkins…
After a very sobering discussion panel and what seemed like an eternity, we finally found ourselves back on BUS #4 in route to …
4:30 PM Grand Tasting of Napa Wines at Quintessa. There was a red carpet at this event and somehow I got a “red carpet interview” with StarkSilverCreek on Wine Tube TV. Check out the full coverage here.
Unfortunately, the folks from Bus #4 arrived slighty later than everyone else — which meant we had less time to absorb the event and taste all the wines. The highlight for me was tasting Garguilo Vineyards Cabarnet. Vintage? Oh riiiiiighhht … about that … don’t remember :)
6:00 PM Depart for dinner at host wineries from Quintessa
Bus #4 had the absolute pleasure of being hosted by Con Creek Winery in Napa Valley for dinner. Among many of their great wines, I had the honor of drinking the 2005 Anthology — a earthy, bold and juicy Bordeaux style blend. The food was fresh, healthy and tasty.
But the ALL TIME HIGHLIGHT of the entire dinner was the barrel blending experience. Conn Creek’s “AVA Room Barrel Blending Experience” provided us with a rare opportunity to learn about, taste and blend Cabernet from 14 of the distinctive sub-appellations of Napa Valley. They also had barrels of the 4 other Bordeaux varietals with which we were encouraged to experiment.
It was at that moment I became a wine blending mad scientist :) And now I will never be the same.
8:00 PM Buses depart and return to Napa Valley Vintners parking and the Flamingo Resort. This is when Bus #4 really let loose. No, really. The boys from Mutineer Magazine whipped out Absinthe … and the rest is history. LUCKILY, I’m one to record history … on video.
So ladies and gentlemen, without further ado … allow me to present the ever infamous Bus #4 Beer Song.
9:00 PM After-hours party hosted by ViniPortugal and the European Wine Bloggers Conference
It was obvious by this point that our little Mr. Don Quixote had had a wee bit much to drink. Yet, we could not resist tasting at least a bit of the wines and ports being poured by our new good friends from CataVino and Quevedo. There must be something in the water in Portugal — cause these kids were damn good looking. (Maybe I need to drink some more Port …)
WBC DAY THREE — Unfortunately, it ended at noon. And I did not take any pictures. BUT, I did learn A LOT about video blogging from THE ONE, THE ONLY … Miss Wine Diver Girl.
Here was the agenda, anyways –
9:00 AM Legalities of Blogging with David Honig – sponsored by Wine Business Monthly
9:00 AM Facebook, Twitter, & Other Social Media for Wine Businesses w/ Janet Fouts – sponsored by Bouchaine Vineyards
9:45 AM Monetization of your Blog with Tim Lemke – sponsored by Wines & Vines
9:45 AMCreating Social Networking for Your Winery with Cheryl Wolhar – sponsored by D.O. Rueda
10:30 AM Beyond Words: How Video Content is Changing the Wine World w/ Bob Asher, Lisa M. deBruin, Hardy Wallace, and John McWeeny – sponsored by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
10:30 AM Search Engine Optimization, Traffic Building, and Blogs with Doug Cook – sponsored by Mutineer Magazine
11:20 AM Discussion about 2010 Conference with the Washington Wine Commission
12 noon Conference Ends
Well, I hope you all had fun reading my interpretation and experience of the Wine Bloggers Conference!!!