So the first day of the Wine Bloggers Conference was insane, I think my first post did a good job of pointing that out. So how were the second and third day? Much like the first, with so much to do and experience. Here’s a recap:
Early Morning Speeches
I was disappointed in the 9am conference about the Geology, Business, and History of Virginia Wine. Not in the speakers, who were great, but in the low attendance. I know we all partied the night before, and I certainly woke up with a headache and wondering where a few bottles of wine had come from, but I still managed to drag myself to the conference – and I wasn’t even staying in the hotel where the conference was being held.
That being said, the speakers were great and it was educational even for somebody that lives in Virginia. Anybody that didn’t make it missed out.
Wine Country Buses
As a rider on Bus 3 (the “Fun-vee”, not the “HumDrum-vee” according to the 1WineDude), I had a great time. We stopped in at Virginia Wineworks, run by Michael Shaps, which I had not been to before, but had on my list to visit as I live his Bag in a Box wines that are incredibly approachable and affordable. After that it was on to First Colony which offered up a couple of interesting reds, but some kinda disappointing whites. Finally it was on to Blenheim and Kirsty Harmon, which I think everybody knows I love. A great tasting, a great walk around the vineyard, and an amazing lunch were a great way to wrap up the tours.
My only complaint with the tasting was that we didn’t get to have more time at Virginia Wineworks, especially when we ended up with more time than we needed at First Colony. A lot of this had to do with First Colony not originally pouring as many wines as was expected, but given that WineWorks is literally right past First Colony, it was still a bit of a let down.
Taking a Breather
After the wine tours there was a keynote speech by Eric Asimov, but quite frankly I needed a break, so I headed back to my hotel room and took a shower, got changed, and then headed back. I did catch the second half or so of his keynote, but as I didn’t catch the first part I was kinda lost. This drove home the need for the conference to factor in some break time during each day so that everybody could catch some lunch or just grab a nap.
Live Wine Blogging – Reds
I had done the speed tasting/dating with the whites and rose’ wines, so I felt compelled to do it with the reds. It wasn’t quite as insane as the night before, and honestly overall I enjoyed the wines from the night before better, though granted I only got to try 12 each night so it’s a crap shoot either way.
Cognac Before Dinner?
There was a cognac tasting before dinner that I just couldn’t get through. I tried one sample and it got me so warm that I just had to walk away. May have worked better if it wasn’t July or after dinner.
Dinner & Wine Blog Awards
I appreciated the speed with with the Wine Blog Awards were handled. They didn’t drag it out or milk it. Would have been nice had more of the winners been in house, so maybe telling them ahead of time so they show up in the future is something to consider.
The meal itself was excellent, and I in fact asked for a second helping of the second course, a sweet corn chowder. While there were some logistical hiccups, considering they had to serve more than 300 people 5 courses with wine pairings in just over an hour, the Omni staff handled it as well as could be expected and deserves some praise.
After Hours Party
I couldn’t make myself do the Rioja crawl, partly because I knew I would have the bad luck to win the trip to Spain that was being offered and that I wouldn’t be able to go since it conflicts with an already planned trip I have.
I did enjoy a room party with several other Virginia wine bloggers and went back to my room well after midnight.
The Final Day
My thoughts on the final day are brief since it was a half day. The Blogger Lead Discussions could have been handled better. Maybe it was just the one I jumped into, but it felt aimless and was basically dominated by a few people not even talking about the Future of Wine Blogging like we were supposed to.
The Ignite Wine! seemed like a good idea, and maybe it worked well in years past, but this year it was something I felt I could have missed and lived through.
I was happy to see Oregon getting the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference and British Columbia get a soft commitment for 2013, hopefully I can attend one or both. Overall this was a great weekend as I got to make new friends and meet people I had been talking to for years. If you’re a wine blogger and have never been it’s never too late to at least try it out. There is always room for improvement, and hopefully the conference will take our suggestions to heart, but all in all I had a great weekend and don’t regret going.
Wow we did a lot over the weekend. I’m sure in the coming days and weeks events from the conference will spark more posts, but for now, I think I need a vacation.