WBC 2009 Day 1: Live blogging & tasting, Wine Blogger Awards, Sonoma wines & more!

Art Predator ready to live blog at WBC 09I was up and at ‘em first thing Friday morning July 24 helping Zephyr Wine Adventures and Open Wine Consortium get registration going for all the excited participants of the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference.

The Flamingo Hotel lobby was hustle bustle with cases of wines rolling through for set-up in one banquet room for the sponsor reception, and lunch and more wine ready to go in another.

People recognizing each other from twitter and blog handles embraced like the old friends they’ve become via social media–even though many of them had never met in person. Others renewed friendships made at last year’s conference and all the while laptop keys were clicking and iPhones popping.

Art Predator Sports a Spicy Zin Tattoo; photo by John CorcoranAfter the first rush was registered, lunchtime was crazy in a different way: I was being pulled in so many directions!

Getting a Spice Zin tattoo from @insidesonoma…

Tasting Biodynamic wines from Bonny Doon and talking kids with winemaker and President for life Randall Grahm…

Telling the Bottle shock folks how much I enjoyed their movie and appreciated their fine cast…

Collecting a few vinfolio wine tasting books and suggesting they attach a pen to the ribbon bookmark…

Grabbing some mediocre lunch with some exceptional truffles from Sonoma County Winegrape Commission  (who needs lunch anyway when there’s truffles and so much wine to enjoy? ummm, me?)…

Checking back in to make sure registration continued to go smoothly…

Looking out for peoWBC 09 American Wine Blog Awards; Tom Wark presentingple who needed to get registered–and people crashing the party! (You know who you are! VinTank’s Asheley Bellville was certainly eyed with suspicion until we knew who she was!)

After lunch, we settled around tables for the Live Wine Blogging, but since most of us were having difficulties getting online, the American Wine Blogging Awards, organized by Tom Wark of Fermentation and sponsored by Mutineer Magazine, came first. Winners received as a trophy beautiful etched decanters by Reidel.

The winners were announced back in March so there were no surprises in who won trophies. Now who received the trophies and how they did it was a bit more fun and listening to them say a few words was well worthwhile–especially since Cellar Rat provided us with some of his stellar syrah to toast the winners with! (One of the best of the weekend, according to Ken Payton on Sunday.)

American Wine Blog Award Winners

Wineblogawards According to Tom Wark, on his blog Fermentation,

“The winners in the seven categories each had to be nominated first, then be chosen as finalists by a panel of judges, then be judged both by the public as well as by the same set of judges. There was most certainly some vetting going on.

Best Wine Writing On a Blog

Best Graphics or PresentationWBC 09 wineblogAwardsSM

Best Single Subject Blog

Best Business/Industry Blog

Best Winery Blog

Best Wine Reviews

Best Overall Blog

Alder Yarrow of Vinography acceptance speech came to us via a video due to show up on YouTube and which I will link to ASAP!

The sponsors of the American Wine Blog Awards are

Next up: Live Wine Blogging. Unfortunately, the wifi continued to be a challenge for many, including me. In fact, getting online was a challenge on and off all weekend as many of us wanted to have several windows open at a time in order to blog, tweet, and who knows what all else. The upshot is I actually lost several live blog posts as well as tweets and finally resorted to taking notes in word. Others used old fashioned pen and paper, but somehow I didn’t have any nearby when I was in need!

For the Live Blogging event, the idea was that every five minutes a new wine and winery would come to the table and pour so we could taste, tweet, and blog while listening to the wine rep who was often the wine maker. Then, rotate! Next wine please! Continue reading