Where does the time go? The Second Annual Winebloggers Conference has already come and gone, and I am left wondering “what the heck was that bus that rolled over me “.As one of the voices behind the curtain of the WBC Scholarship, and as a huge cheerleader, proponent and fan of the WBC, I am pleased, shocked, elated, bummed, and catching my breath after the weekend.
On our first day, the rag tag Twisted Crew (@sonadora, @thebeerwench, @winehiker, @eljefetwisted, @ryanopaz, @gabriellaopaz, @houstonwino, @winewonkette) and I pulled up to the Flamingo after fighting what seemed to be an eternity in Central Valley and Infinion drag racing traffic followed by the usual Friday flow in to Santa Rosa. Arriving at 12:30 or so, I didn’t spend much time with the sponsors, something which I regret doing. Partially because many of them were familiar to me, partially because I was just plain exhausted due to unfortunate events the day before, I found my fellow people and sat down to eat some lunch.
I was excited to see so many of my friends, both those that I know in person and those that I knew only online, as new recruits tot he WBC posse. After catching up, albeit breifly, with some regulars, I was circulating the room trying to spy new faces while inspecting their name tags without looking like I was completely crazy. Fortunately, I caught up with a few new regulars.
After lunch, we attempted to do the speed tasting sessions, but well for reasons so many have discussed, it failed. Miserably. Like died on the operating table failed. In its stead, we heard about the Wine Blogger Awards. Unfortunately, I had purposely planned to skip this male dominated prom king style popularity contest, and moving it up unfortunately resulting in people not being there to accept thier awards. Eventually the wireless supposedly turned back on but as I tried to tweet my tasting notes, the wireless only stayed up for 10 seconds at a time, I gave up and just enjoyed the wines. Sorry folks, no tasting notes from me.
After the speed tasting, we beat a hasty retreat to our short but sweet annual Anti-Conference BYOB session in the small space at the front of the hotel. We did get to enjoy a large plethora of wines from attendees, and I really look forward to this time to meet new folks, try new wines, and just have a good time in an unstructured way.
Not wanting to miss a beat, we then made our way out to the pool for a very crowded very crazy Sonoma Grand Tasting. Not wanting to get crushed in the milee I pretty much avoided this, and found a spot at a table with Wine Biz Radio’s Randy Hall, his wife Jen and her amazing goat cheese, as well as some fellow bloggers. There, we shared some wine, I opened some wine,
Chritophe (@cork_dork) from Titus opened some wine, and we made our own tasting. PS for next year, PLEASE do no try to squeeze 250 people in to a space meant for 50, it just doesn’t’ work. I am sorry I missed many great wines, but I count myself lucky that I have tasted many before so didn’t really feel like I was losing out. It was just too much of a mosh pit to really enjoy your self and so instead, I opted to find an empty poolside table and sit with my buds catching up. Jen, Randy Hall’s wife, had brought some of her homemade goat cheese to share and with some wine to sip on, we snacked and chatted the afternoon away.
Oh – I forgot to mention. During all portions of the Speed Tasting and Sonoma Grand, I was readily accosted for my unusual jewelry of Wie BLogger Bling. It looks like my ribbons and charms were a hit, yet again! Yes, t
his was the idea, and I am pleased that so many of you enjoyed the camradierie of being a Naughty Wine Minx or saying tot he world Screw It! More WIne! That was the intention behind the blogger bling, as there were so many people I didn’t know and knew I wouldn’t get a chance to meet; I was pleased that it afforded me the opportunity to have random strangers become aquaintances via a common love of all thing wine and silly.
After the Grand Tasting, we made our way in to the dinner session, where I had a tizzy of a time finding not only a seat, but a seat at a table where I at least recognized one face. I know i know, I was going to mingle, but even this cowgirl gets the “I’m shy” blues and wanted a friendly face. I sat down with my favorite Cellar Rat Alan Baker, and we had a great time trying our wines and catching up, while I went table hopping to poach different wines. The table layout was that most tables were hosted by a winery, and we had a few of their wines plus others on our tables. Since I wanted a variety, I found Brad Cooper’s table (@bradinator) and poured a nice big taste of his Black Cloud Pinot Noir. WOW! Who knew such beauty came out of of British Columbia in a bottle! (Hey, @winebard stop throwing things at me).
Even though I was operating at 45% sanity, both physically and mentally, after dinner I wandered in tot he after hours tasting hosted by Russian River Winegrowers. I was please to see many wineries I knew here, and was able to taste some more treats, and chat with the locals on what was new. In there, I met up with Julie from Windsor Oaks, whom I’ve written about before here. Julie is a pioneer in the industry and is working hard to make sure that she is in tune with not only bloggers, but with what her customers want and need. I was so pleased to get a gift of their Unoaked Chard, which is just a lovely treat. Anyone in the area, MUST stop by and try their wines! They will welcome you as one of their own, and the wine is pretty good too ;-).
I tried and tried to stay up for the after after after party but I just couldn’t do it. My body and my brain gave out. I’m sure I missed out on a lot and I’m bummed, but well, Saturday was another day!
(How long til WBC 10?)