The Birds and The Bees in The Zinfandel Trees: 2020 Harvest in Ventura Vineyards Old and New

Bruce Freeman picking Zinfandel in upper Ojai CA late August 2020.

“The birds and the bees know when the grapes are ripe,” says Clos des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman.

It’s 9am on a warm late August morning, and we’re knee deep in thickly trunked Zinfandel wherein large dark clusters of grapes hide bees with a few yellow jackets for good measure. The birds are out too, mostly mourning doves cooing like a daytime owl and acorn woodpeckers making a ruckus.

I’ve asked a silly question: if we’d picked the week before, would the bees be so bad? Would they have taken so much fruit?

Wouldn’t matter, says Bruce.

When the brix is right, the bees know it and they’re right there too ready for the harvest. They snuggle their little fuzzy butts right in there, humping the seeds to get the juicy, seed pulp, leaving hollow hulls and seeds behind.

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Wine Media Virtual Summit: Home tasting with Marche’s Velenosi Vini

Usually a highlight of the Wine Media Conference is tasting wine at various educational sessions, while visiting wineries, during wine pairing meals, and of course, at the ever popular and often ridiculed speed tastings. Over the years, I enjoyed all of this and more, including getting to know and spending time with my wine writing colleagues.

I missed going in 2019 as I was in France competing in the World Wine Tasting Championship, and in 2018 I had a paid poetry performance, so I was really looking forward to going to Eugene for the 2020 edition.

But this year, due to COVID, my colleagues and I could only chat along the sidelines of the sessions, instead of between sessions, and the tasting opportunities were limited to what was in our own cellars– and, if we were lucky, and already signed up for the now postponed 2020 conference, we had the opportunity to join one of four at home tastings. Continue reading

Day 3 Highlights: 2020 Wine Media Conference Virtual Summit #WMC20

I’ll write about anything if you’ll pay me!
— Marcy Gordon, panelist
2020 Wine Media Virtual Summit

Another Wine Media Conference has come and gone, albeit this time, virtually, and I had to wash all the wine glasses and make all the food and dance all by myself…

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Day 2 Highlights: 2020 Wine Media Virtual Summit #WMC20

from our Velenosi Virtual Verdicchio tasting

When the 2020 Wine Media Conference in Eugene was postponed due to COVID, a Virtual Summit sprung up in its place. From Thurs. August 20 through Saturday August 22, 2020, participants from all over the world joined sessions on a range of topics starting as early as 7am Pacific and continuing every other hour until 4pm with wine tastings at 4:30pm for fifteen people registered for the now- postponed  2021 conference. 

As mentioned in my post on Day 1, I attended most of all of the sessions, and took as many notes as I could considering my left wrist is broken in two places and with two fingers injured on my right hand — and that there was a lively discussion going on at all times in the comment section!  

Here’s a few highlights and an overview of Day 2; next I’ll post Day 3 and finish up with thoughts about the Velenosi virtual tasting pictured above. I’ve asked fellow attendees for their highlights or takeaways, or beverages but haven’t got too much to work with yet. NOTE:. Session images provided by Zephyr conferences; wine images by me. Stay tuned! Subscribe! 

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Day 1 Highlights: Virtual Edition Wine Media Conference 2020 #WMC20

Instead of tasting wine in Eugene, it was in my backyard…

We’ve all been zooming, attending live tasting sessions, and various other virtual events replacing live gatherings now for a lifetime it feels like.

In the Before Time, I had planned on attending the Wine Media Conference in Eugene Oregon this week. I’ve attended previously: 2008 and 2009 in Santa Rosa, 2010 in Walla Walla, 2012 in Portland, 2013 in BC (that’s CANADA!), 2014 in Santa Barbara, 2016 in Lodi, and 2017 in Santa Rosa again.

But COVID hit, and this one — to be held in Eugene– was postponed to 2021 with a virtual conference held instead.

The 2020 Wine Media Conference Virtual Summit took place from Thurs. August 20 to Saturday August 22, 2020 with sessions starting as early as 7am Pacific and continuing every other hour until 4pm with wine tastings in the evening for those fortunate enough to get in on them early enough.

And I must say, I think it was quite a success! And I’m quite sure that most of the attendees agree! Kudos to organizers for putting together diverse offerings and presenters!  Continue reading

A Visit to Loire with Thierry Puzelat of Organic Clos du Tue-Boeuf: Part 1 Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc with Summer Squash Tart #Winophiles

Summer in a glass. More than any other wine — that’s what people say about sauvignon blanc.

It truly is an ideal wine for summer: it embodies summer fresh scents of citrus, grass, and white stone fruit, and it pairs so well with summery foods like salads, vegetables, and goat cheese.

That definitely goes for sauvignon blanc from the Loire River Valley, Continue reading