2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in PDX: Wine Predator to Ignite!

It’s almost that time again–time for the annual Wine Bloggers Conference!

This year we’re meeting in Portland –close to the Willamette Valley home of Oregon’s justly famous pinot noir and pinot gris! I barely scratched the surface with my trip there last July– highlighted by my visit on my last night to Coleman Vineyard south and west of McMinnville (Gotta love Coleman’s Facebook about page which says: Think globally. Eat locally. Dress casually.) More on Coleman soon!

I’ve made the pilgrimage to the Wine Bloggers Conference a regular part of my wine, writing, and blogging education: I attended the inaugural conference in 2008 as well as 2009 in Sonoma, followed by 2010 in Walla Walla. I also attended the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lisbon as a guest of Enoforum Wine.

I keep going back to the Wine Blogger Conferences because I learn so much about writing and wine–two of my favorite activities combined into one!! It’s amazing to try so many wines from so many regions in such a short time. And over the years I’ve made some wonderful friends as well as connections in the business.

This year in Portland, over 350 consumer and industry wine bloggers will gather on Thursday August 16 for a welcome by Oregon Wine Board. Highlights include speed tastings, a keynotes by Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm and Sideways novelist Rex Pickett, plus many sessions on topics related to wine and writing including IgniteWine! where I will be presenting on “Sex, Wine and the Semi-Colon.” I’m currently debating whether I should include real-life examples of typos or mechanical errors that I come across in wine blogs–but I know that will open mine up to criticism and I am sure there are a few mistakes around here too! What do you think? Is it a good idea or not?

For an example of a great IgniteWine presentation, check out the video above!

In the meantime, please subscribe (in the upper right hand corner) so you don’t miss a single drop!

My Whirlwind Tour of Oregon Pinot Noir

How did I get from Idaho and Walla Walla back to California for the Petite Sirah Symposium? By way of some Oregon Pinot Noir of course!

Read on to get a taste and see where I went and what I did; more in depth blog posts to come about my stops in Willamette Valley AVAs including Barrel Fence in the Dundee Hills (pictured) and Coleman Vineyards in the McMinnville AVA (photos below).

After a Whirlwind Tour of Oregon Pinot Noir, Back in California for Petite Sirah! When I last checked in from my road trip, I had arrived on the coast of Oregon following a few days in the Walla Walla AVA (American Viticultural Area) and around Boise (the Snake River AVA)…  Read More

via art predator

NW & CA Wine Tasting Road Trip 2011: exploring “family” & “sustainability”?

Instead of going to my fifth Wine Bloggers Conference this July in Virginia (I went to Sonoma 2008, Sonoma/Napa 2009, Walla Walla 2010 and Lisbon 2009), since I wasn’t teaching summer school I decided to take advantage of the time off and have proceed on a wine tasting road trip that focuses on two big stories in wine: “family” and “sustainability.

It seems to me that just about every winery claims to be “family” run and operated, so much so that the term has lost its meaning.

Same with sustainability. As a lifelong environmental activist, and a UC Santa Cruz environmental studies major, so much of what’s passing as sustainability seems to be greenwashing. And just because a wine is “organic” doesn’t mean the winery is “sustainable.”

So to learn more about these two topics which I find to be intertwined, I have set out on a road trip to find and write about both sustainability and family–and I am taking my family along with me and we will be traveling as sustainably as possible in our 1990 VW Westfalia VW camper van.

Pictured up top: We’re camped in our 90 westy with our custom tie dye (I did it with lots of help from my husband and son!) along Granite Creek near Granite Creek Hot Springs in Wyoming south of Jackson; the Granite joins the Hoback which joins the Snake…more on that later! The wine, Hard Core by Core Winery, is a favorite of ours; my husband loves rhone blends with some cab in them–this is  60% Mourvedre and 25% Grenache from Alta Mesa Vineyard and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Barbara Highlands vineyard. Aged 21 months in 70% new French and 30% American barrels and aged 7 months in the bottle. These folks are one of my favorite families in wine; yes I will be including them in this project!).

I will be blogging about as many wineries as I can along the way as I search out and meet “winery kids” to explore what it’s like growing up among the vines in the Wild West…and discussing sustainable practices too.

The plan is to use the blog posts as a backbone for a book about “Winery Kids” (a topic I personally find more interesting than winery dogs!) The book will ultimately include information about the winery, the family engaged in the winery, and the winery’s sustainable practices. Family life includes wine and food so the book will have family friendly and favorite menus matched with a wine or two from the winery and with at least one family recipe to go with the wine. While it won’t be a guide book to family friendly wineries, it will include wineries that are family friendly.

I’m starting out near the headwaters of the Snake River in Wyoming. Pictured above are two Idaho wines in our Grand Teton campsite that we had with elk burgers, and the same wines which we enjoyed the next night along Grassy Lake Road near Yellowstone with buffalo burgers!  (In case you’re wondering, I prefer elk. And both syrahs were different but awesome. More on that later.)

Then I’ll travel south then west and north west along the Snake River AVA in Idaho. Then I’ll drive north east to Walla Walla and along the Columbia to write about a Washington AVA or two, then head south into Oregon’s Willamette Valley, down to Sonoma and Napa and Santa Cruz. I intend to include Calaveras County in the Sierras and, later Temecula wine country in the south. Since I live in the central coast, I will attend to the region in my backyard during day and weekend trips.

Come along! It’s easy–just subscribe to this blog and you can read about our adventures from the comfort of your own computer!

And check out my twitter feed–that’s where I will be posting pictures and notes as often as possible.