Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Woodstock for Wine Bloggers

Wine Bloggers Conference II

Santa Rosa, California

July 24-25-26, 2009

Years from now, everybody is going to say they were there even if they weren't. Just like Woodstock in 1969, the actual attendance is somewhat smaller than the legend suggests.

I knew the Wine Bloggers Conference was going to be a wine-filled, wine-centric and wine saturated affair. I just didn't know how much it would be.

I always need a little time for things to sink in. The more information, the more time I need to establish what exactly it was that I experienced. I wasn't ready to blog about this because there was a tremendous amount of data.

Most of those who attended the Sonoma County-based affair were citizen bloggers. Around 275 dedicated believers who more-or-less regularly blog about their passion. What they got for their admission was a full-on, slightly over-the-top assault on their wine-loving senses.

Due to the size of the group, not everyone got the same experience, the itineraries were split up to better present the Napa and Sonoma wineries. At a couple of venues the group reassembled en masse. At the Culinary Institute of America, (photo)for instance, and later at Quintessa for the Grand Tasting. It was a marvel of mini-bus logistics with only a few hiccups.

Our headquarter for the conference was the restored Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa. I recommend the hotel for a wine country base of operations. It would be a good place to park the kids (with supervision, of course) while you and your partner or posse head out to wine country.
The conference itself was packed with activity and detail. From registration on, every moment seemed to be choreographed to jam as much tasting and talking in as possible. Like a small herd animal, I went along with the flow. I could have opted out at any time and taken some 'me' time but I was there to see what was on offer. So I was all in.
I had brought some Black Cloud Pinot Noir and a selection of Township 7 wines I'd made in the hope that I could stage a little impromptu tasting event. Can you say crash the agenda? I could have given it a shot at a poolside table around 10 pm Friday or Saturday but by then most of the conferencers were at one of the sponsored 'after-hours' activities or asleep, exhausted by the day's rigorous pace. I ended up handing out full bottles to interested parties and that seemed to be appreciated.
There are many details I've left out. But over the coming weeks I'll use this space to explore some of the wine country concepts and images we were presented with and how this ultimately effects the consumer.
By the way, the third annual Wine Bloggers Conference is scheduled for June of 2010 in Walla Walla, Washington, Registration is open now.

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