From the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference, a list of truly random thoughts:
Far less drunken absurdity than last year’s conference. Must have been all those Californians!
In terms of people I spoke with and met, there seemed to be more bloggers this year as opposed to industry types.
Oregon Pinot Noir is excellent. I was accused of having Pinot Envy, and I can’t deny it.
Amazed to not have live stream going for the conference.
Never cease to be impressed at how Walla Walla rises as a community for an occasion.
Never cease to be impressed by fellow blogger Catie from Through the Walla Walla Grapevine.
Surprised at the decision to have a keynote speech during dinner after last year’s fiasco. Impressed at how Lettie Teague met the challenge with aplomb.
In Steve Heimoff’s keynote he stated that the rift between bloggers and professional writers in the wine world centered around the ‘Rockaway’ incident. I believe it has more to do with a mutual lack of respect shown by many or perhaps a mutual respect that expresses itself as lack of respect?
The 2007 Amavi Cellars Les Collines Syrah and 2007 Woodward Canyon Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon are among the best wines produced from this exceptional vintage.
Wine bloggers are an interesting mix of hobbyists who spend small amounts of time on their blogs and devoted fanatics who spend large amounts of time and everything in between.
Surprised to have heard some grumbling from wineries who didn’t see the value of engaging with wine bloggers.
Few are doing it better in Washington or elsewhere than Caleb Foster at Buty.
If there is one thing bloggers have learned from the print media, it’s writing top ten lists.
The taco truck tasting was a great idea.
Many years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, serious issues remain.
Wish we had more opportunity to sample more Washington wine from more areas (Please note: I would have written this no matter how much wine was poured from whatever number of areas).
Amazed at how much discussion there was about what the right way is to write/blog/etc.
Surprised at how difficult it is to get a vegetarian meal sometimes.
Loved the focus on recycling at the conference.
Thinking about enrolling in Whitman so I could listen to Kevin Pogue lecture every day.
Impressed by how many bloggers woke up early for the morning sessions. Perhaps this had something to do with my first point above.
Wine bloggers seem to love chasing their tails as much as dogs do.
Perhaps next year the Wine Blogger Awards should include a category: Best Wine Blog About Wine Blogging?
The sheer physical beauty of the Walla Walla Valley takes my breath away every time.
"In Steve Heimoff's keynote he stated that the rift between bloggers and professional writers in the wine world centered around the 'Rockaway' incident. I believe it has more to do with a mutual lack of respect shown by many or perhaps a mutual respect that expresses itself as lack of respect?"
Or, could it be because of the elitism shown by some wine writers? Wine is very subjective. Because one person gets paid, and another writes out of love of the subject, does that make the so-called "professional" opinion any more valid? Gary Vaynerchuk is a prime example. Most "professional" writers have very little regard for him. However, he arguably reaches a much larger audience and is having more of an impact on the wine world than most wine writers, Parker excluded. Don't get me wrong – there are some wine writers and reviewers that I really enjoy and who's reviews I find very helpful. On the other hand, I still have no idea what "pain grille" (or however you spell it) is and I really don't care for most stainless steel fermented and aged chardonnays! That, I believe, will be shown to be a trend and a fad. And those statements, of course, will have someone such as myself looked down upon and my opinions discounted by certain writers. Which is fine and dandy. My shoulders are broad, and I can take the heat – which will be much easier to handle with a nice glass of chardonnay that saw some time in 1 year old oak and in which part of the wine in the blend went through malolactic fermentation. I like sauvignon blanc and gewurztraminer better, anyway… ;)
I'm right there with you on the vegetarian issue (indeed, I think we were next to or across the table from each other at most of those meals). Saturday night's dinner was wonderful, though, and it made me really happy. :)
Anon, there was a lot of interesting discussion about the virtues or lack thereof of getting paid versus not getting paid for what you write. 'You can only do it right if you are doing it for free!''You can only do it right if you get paid.' I think I scratched a hole in my head. I would get it if someone said 'I feel I can only do it the way I want if I am doing it for free' or 'For me, it's important to get paid.' The amount of judgment that gets thrown is really just bizarro to me. One size does not fit all. There is no 'right way' (except, of course, my way).
Cindy, indeed, we circled each other all weekend. I agree that the dinner Saturday night was terrific. I was very impressed by the Marc and how they handled the event in general, from dinner to the conference rooms etc. They were first class the whole weekend.
Another random thought I meant to add, I love ice sculptures. Such a beautiful, transient expression of art. Was a very memorable part of this year's conference.
Sean, you are so sweet – no wonder Yoko Ono is following you on Twitter. Thank you for the kind words. I also have to say that I stand behind you on every random thought you listed. Yes, the dinner on Saturday night was wonderful with all of those fragrant and tender little vegetables – and the dessert! You mentioned the ice sculptures, well the wooden plates that the food was served on during Saturday night's dinner were also carved by Chef Bear.
Sean! I was great to see you, although briefly, at WBC. I agree wholeheartedly with all your observations with the exception of one. Although the taco trucks in theory are a great idea, I suffered some "intestinal distress" after eating from them. Unfortunately it caused me to retreat to my room and missed the opening sessions of the conference.
Agree about the OR Pinot Noir, I was blown away by the Stoller I had at the red wine speed tasting on Sat.
I had the priviledge of having Kevin Pogue on my bus on Sat. morning (neener, neener), so that was an added treat and I learned so much and appreciated his enthusiasm.
I too was very impressed with Buty's offerings. More impressive to me was Caleb Foster during the red wine speed tasting. He was genuinely interested in what each of us had to say, ask, comment. He sat down at the table like he was joining old friends for a glass. I really love that.
"Many years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, serious issues remain." – Completely agree, enough said.
Agreed, much agreed, on the vegetarian note and a good number of your other points, too. On the "right" way to blog, I found that more encouraging than excluding. Everyone seemed to agree that there was no one right way, but a spectrum of things that could be considered "right" with the emphasis on constant improvement toward the goal of "better than we are now." Who's to argue with that?!
And on the note about variation among wine bloggers, it's also worth noting that the bloggers in attendance didn't seem to fit any mold at all beyond being wine enthusiasts. Ages from early twenties on up, male and female, affluent and frugal-by-force, even loquacious and loud versus shy and reserved. What fun to meet the people behind the blogs!
Sean, you are a born diplomat. As I am doing both print (old media) and blogging (with a side order of Facebook and Twitter) I scratch my head frequently. Should my blogger-ego be dissing my print past? Should my author-ego be thumbing his nose at the futility of my non-paying blogs?
Walla Walla is gorgeous anytime, in every corner of the county. So let's hook up over there whenever possible. Always more fun to taste with a buddy.
Paul, good too see you at WBC. Thanks so much again for sharing the numerous vintage Washington wines with folks on Sunday. I have a picture of the 1998 Seven Hills Walla Walla Valley Cabernet saved as the wallpaper on my phone it made such an impression on me. Look forward to seeing you soon.
P.S. Paul, I think the best thing to do is follow the lead of one of my biker friends. He rails against cars while he's riding his bicycle and rails against bicycles when he's driving his car. The best of both worlds!