Registration open for North American Wine Bloggers Conference 2009

2008 was the year the wine bloggers decided to come together. Literally. By meeting in not one, but two conferences: one in Europe (more precisely in the Rioja, in Spain), and one in California, at the Flamingo in Santa Rosa, at the Southern end of the Sonoma Valley (see a whole bunch of blog posts listed here).

Both conferences filled to capacity and were a great success, featuring winery visits, lots of great tastings and interesting keynote speakers – notably Gary Vaynerchuk and Alice Feiring, who roused the wine blogger community in Santa Rosa by stating that it should be nothing less than a force to change the wine world.  

Thanks to that initial success, the conferences are back for a second spin. Details for the European Wine Bloggers Conference remain to be made public, but the North Americain Wine Bloggers Conference is already open for registration. The event returns to The Flamingo, and will be able to welcome some 250 people, on July 24 to 26. Beyond Sonoma, which was already explored last year, a trip to Napa is part of the planning, to expand horizons a bit.

Obviously, the Sonoma conference is returning faster than one year after the first edition. Apparently, the wineries made the point that an October conference made their lives difficult (with the small matter of harvest, crush, and such), and so the dates were changed to the summer. Bummer for me, I won’t be able to make it. 

But a lot of people should make it. Apparently a few dozen people have already registered, in only a few days. If you’re planning on attending this professional (and very much fun) event, don’t wait too long to make up your mind.

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It’s Christmas. Bring out the big bottles – and I mean that literally

I did another one of those fun collaborations with Sharman Yarnell, of Montreal radio station CJAD, this week. The theme was Holiday wine giving, by which she meant: what wine do you buy someone as a gift that will be distinctive and, hopefully, impressive.

I made many suggestions, from Alvaro Palacios’ Petalos, a scrumptious Bierzo with a lot of fight in it (see my tasting note), to Miguel Torres’ Mas La Plana, an exceptional and age-worthy cabernet sauvignon from the catalan part of Spain, and to the oft-forgotten madeira (the perfect match for plum pudding and fruitcake) with a Henriques y Henriquest 1995 Single Vintage as an excellent starting point.

But the idea that really stuck with me was: Go Big.

By which I don’t mean heading for overripe, (more…)

Regional Wine Writing Project: Napa North? How about Burgundy West?

When I decided to take part in the Regional Wine Writing Project, I started with Quebec, my homeland, which deserves a full introduction to just about anyone that is not a wine lover in Quebec itself. That was easy, in other terms, because just about everything remains to be said. Writing about Niagara, which is, to say the least, more often discussed (and whose wines are more readily available to US readers, as a look through Wine-Searcher.com will tell you), was a bit more of a bind. Where to start?

What finally got me started was a recent Globe and Mail article by John Szabo, where the Niagara region (more…)

Wine Bloggers, getting (it) together

There are a lot of conversations going on on the internet, a lot of communities coming together through blogs and Web 2.0 sites, a lot of people talking and learning about subjects of common interests through social media. But in the end, there is nothing yet that can truly replace face to face meetings and live conversation.

This is why, in August and October, there will be not one but two Wine Blogger Conferences that will allow wine bloggers from around Europe and the Americas to come together and discuss issues that matter to them and to the wine world. Oh yeah. And to taste wines and have great meals together – something that still can’t really be done over the Internet.

The first one, (more…)