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Thank you…

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It’s said that a couple has up to one year after a wedding to send out all the ‘Thank You’ notes for wedding gifts.  It hasn’t been quite a year, but I wanted to write my thank you to the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship donors before the one-year mark.

In a perfect world, I would have finished writing all my posts and this thank-you post a long time ago, but we all know that we don’t live in a perfect world.

It was always in my mind to write a specific post thanking the donors for their contributions but I received an email last night from the Zephyr Adventures that made me feel it’s necessary to write this now. 

This coming November, in Portland, Oregon, Zephyr Adventures is holding the Wine Tourism Conference, which is where the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference was held.  I’d considered attending this event after seeing Thea Dwelle’s updates and tweets during last’s years Wine Tourism Conference in Santa Rosa, but the email I received last night nearly sealed the deal.

In addition to Thea, other bloggers attended last year’s Wine Tourism Conference and felt the program was very beneficial.  See here for story.

I think what struck me the most was the statement on networking opportunities available at the Wine Tourism Conference.  I welcome the thought of finding a position outside the legal industry and would be grateful for the opportunity to build meaningful business contacts.

Coming full circle, had it not been for the donors for the Wine Bloggers Scholarship that so graciously donated funds, I would not have been able to attend last year’s Wine Bloggers Conference, nor would I have seen the importance of attending future events geared towards wine blogging development.

Cheers!

~H

 

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The Tales of the Traveling Tiara (part 2)

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(this is a second installment of my experience at the Wine Bloggers Conference this past August 2012 in Portland, Oregon.  You can read my first post here.)

Thursday night was an early night to bed.  On Friday, the Wine Bloggers in Portland woke up to a clear, hot sunny day similar to the day before.

After breakfast, I went downstairs to mingle.  On Thursday, sometime during check-in, I had seen Nannette wearing a tiara.  I knew instinctively it was her birthday, and heartily wished her a happy day.  When I saw her Friday morning, I informed her that that day was my birthday, and asked if I may wear the tiara that day?

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As I set the tiara on my head, and began touring the registration and tradeshow area, the day began to look much more interesting.

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(Pardon the blurred photo, I was a new iPhone user!)

The Argentine Food & Wine pairing was for the most part done well.  Some of the pairings weren’t spot on, but most of the food was delicious, and the hosts and hostesses of the event were wonderful.  A couple performing Latin tango during the lunch added visual and aural elements to the already sensory-filled brunch.

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Things happened quickly on Friday, and Randall Grahms’ keynote began and ended in a whirl.

The whites and roses Live Wine Blogging was my first experience at rapid tasting (and spitting!), and since I only had my iPhone, I tweeted my impressions:

  • A memorable wine was the Alexana Pinot Gris from Dundee Hills.  The wine was bright, clean, lemony.  The winery is higher end and only available to a few states.
  • The Johan Chardonnay (Willamette) was aged for 18 months in French oak, and bottled unfiltered.  High acid and delicious, I noted it would pair well with certain cheeses and fruit.
  • Benton Lane came to Table 13 and served a Pinot Gris.  Benton Lane is known for it’s pinot noir.  The pinot gris would stand up well to salads, pear fruit, and salmon.
  • Merryhill Winery, a family owned and operated winery, poured a Rose of Sangiovese that had Best of Show in Sonoma County.  This rose screamed picnic as I envisioned cured meats and cheese on a red-and-white checked tablecloth on sunny Mt. Tamalpais.
  • An Argentine Recuerdo Torrontes had great acid.  I was thrilled to learn it was available in California.

In summary, I loved the sauvignon blancs, Pepi (origin?) and Decibel (NZ, Hawks Bay) that were crisp, not too cold, and acid bouncing off the tongue.

The tasting ended with a Gloria Ferrer Va De Vi which would be a stellar picnic wine in case rose´ wasn’t desired.

Within a half hour after the whites and roses live wine blogging, the buses in front of the hotel began to fill with passengers going to mysterious destinations.  I vacillated between going and not going, and finally jumped on Bus 8 where there were only two remaining seats left in the entire caravan.  I think I made the best decision.

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We sat in heavy traffic for a short time, and then got off the freeway onto a little country highway.  We traveled for about an hour, maybe a little more, when we were stopped by a police break in the road.  What was going on?

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Lo and behold, it was a planned stop by the Carlton Police.  Welcome to Carlton, Oregon!  First stop, Carlos & Julian!

(…. to be continued….)

No Longer a Wine Bloggers Conference Virgin and the Tales of the Traveling Tiara, Part I

It’s been over a month since I returned home from the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland.  I had such an amazing weekend *alone* that when I finally returned to the Bay Area on Monday, I was unprepared for the denouement of the entire weekend.

I hadn’t had too much or even enough wine at the Conference, and I continued to drink wine in the evening for a couple days after I returned.  After that, I’d had my limit; I’d become burned out on wine!  I had to put the festivities of the weekend on a back burner including any writing because when I returned my fall family schedule was in full throttle —  my son had started first grade and club soccer, and I had a night class beginning at the end of the week.

This post will be a nice reminder of an amazing weekend I had for which I’ll forever be grateful.

When I arrived in Portland, the first thing I noticed was that it was HOT!  I’d arrived on Thursday August 16 mid day since I wanted to connect with friends before the frenzy of the Conference began.

Since I’d arrived before many of my friends, I settled in the room for a short time and decided to take the opportunity to explore downtown Portland.

I caught the MAX line outside the hotel and took the train across the river into the city, getting off a few stops before my destination.  Since I love music second to wine, I decided to try to find some local record/CDs stores for some hidden gems.

The first store I went into was strictly hip-hop, and the owner was offended I didn’t ask him first if I could take a picture of his store for my blog.  I left quickly and found another victim, which I found at Jackpot Records on SW 9th Avenue.  I was more comfortable with the music this store sold, jazz, blues, mostly vintage, and some vintage rock on LP, but held out on buying anything.

I finally stumbled and fumbled in the heat to Everyday Music (after a confusing trip through Powells’ Bookstore), and found two great finds:  A Hindu Love Gods CD (REM with Warren Zevon on vocals from the late 80’s/early 90’s) and an out-of-print Bonnie Raitt CD.

Happy but tired, I made my way to the MAX station I’d exited and found a seat amongst the commuters for the ride back to the hotel.  After a quick dinner of black bean hummus and vegetables with a couple glasses of my new favorite King Estate pinot gris with Doug Levy (http://douglevy.com/WFW/), Jeff Weissler (http://consciouswine.com/) , and Luke Whittall (http://winecountrybc.wordpress.com/), the Conference began with the Welcome Reception provided by the Oregon Wine Board.

This was a fun event, but a little intimidating for me as well.  As great as it was for me to taste many different wines that night, my focus was on meeting people I’d been virtual friends with for years.  I don’t know how the conference had handled welcoming receptions in the past, but that night should have had fewer wineries to allow more mixing and mingling among the attendees, in my opinion.

The wines that stood out for me that night were pinot gris and pinot noir (my first foray into both varietals) produced by Johan, Cooper Mountain, and Evening Land.

The next day, August 17, was a truly memorable day!
……….(TO BE CONTIUED)……..

Writing for Wine

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Deciding to do something takes more than a decision.  It takes reflection, it needs to be shared with friends, so they will support you on your decision, and it needs to be acted on.

I took a journalism class a year ago because I thought it would help me with writing.  I wanted to find a more distinct voice, and I wanted to learn more about what it takes to write an article.  I am fortunate that one of my articles for my class was published in edible East Bay.  I’d been doing freelance marketing for edible East Bay, and while the editor assigned the article to me for both my classwork and for her magazine, I was grateful my first article was published.

I wrote a subsequent article for the magazine about an application for a new viticultural designation in eastern Contra Costa County.  I enjoyed writing the article immensely, but ran into some confusion that exists within the Bay Area’s official wine-growing designations.  The article was shelved and I haven’t written anything since.

Even though it had only been a few months since I’d written anything of importance, and I was very busy with family issues and summer vacation travels,  I felt as if I were leaving something unfinished.

Last Friday I met with the editor to catch up as we’d not done so in a few months due to travel schedule conflicts.  She and I discussed my next writing assignment.  I’m not sure what the exact article will be about at this moment, but can say it is wine related.

It seemed serendipitous that I was receiving a wine article assignment the weekend of the Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I’m going to make this serendipity my “push” to keep writing regularly on this blog so I can focus on next year’s conference in Portland which, incidentally, is being held on my birthday.

~H

Another Wine Bloggers Conference missed…

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It’s not surprising that I’m posting to my blog for the first time in exactly a year.  Today is the beginning of the Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlotteville Virginia, and I was unable to attend.

I’ve been working freelance for a local food magazine, and while I was full of fresh ideas on who and how to sell the advertising, the economy is still in the pits, and the customers I was pursuing are small businesses.  Needless to say, I was not very successful, and have to put my attention into other areas for freelance income.

My goal was to save enough money to pay for airfare, registration ($295.00 due to media status), lodging, and meals.  Sadly, I was unable to come up with the funds, and knew this by late April/early May.

The Wine Bloggers Conference for 2012 is to be voted on this weekend, so I’m following the hasthtag #wbc11 today and the rest of the weekend to get a flavor of what I’ve missed, and learn where the conference will be next year.

So far, the choices are: Portland, Oregon, Penticton, British Columbia, and Santa Barbara County [Buellton], California.

The conference was held in Oregon [correction: Walla Walla Washington] in 2010, so I think that location may be nixed.

Penticton B.C. would be an attractive venue, and the hotel where the conference would be located is on the shore of a lake, and resembles Lake Tahoe. This would be an attractive venue for Washington state wineries.

However, I’ve never obtained a passport and a current one is now needed in order to travel to Canada.  This seems strange to me as I would go to Toronto frequently with my parents as a child in the mid 70’s when we lived in Michigan, and not only did they not require a passport, but the Canadien currency was  used throughout the suburban area in which we lived as readily as our own currency.

Buellton is a central coast town south of San Luis Obispo, and north-east of Santa Barbara.  The reasons to have the conference here, for me personally, are multitude.

I would be able to drive down with local friends, so this venture would be much more economical.  The fact that Buellton is the destination, versus the city of Santa Barbara, is significant.  Santa Barbara is a very expensive city, and hotel costs, regardless of discounts for large numbers of people, would be prohibitive.

I’ve found a new website to offer freelance services, and have already created a profile.  I’ve already created a plan to set more money aside, so I think it will just be a matter of time before I reach my goal.  And this time, I will keep on writing!!

~H

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