I had a great weekend close to home at the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton BC last weekend at I am seriously thinking of trying to get to the next one in Santa Barbara in 2014.
I learned a lot of things about wine and our local wine industry and also a few ideas on how to get my blog off the ground. I met an amazing bunch of wine and food bloggers, wine industry types and people from all over, not just North America but South America and Spain! Many of the bloggers are seriously talented writers and I feel honoured to have been in their presence.
This was the first time the WBC had been held outside of the U.S and even though the participant numbers were down according to Zephyr Adventures Owner Allan Wright, “It was time”. He said they had purposely pushed back the Penticton venue an extra year in order for the U.S participants to get travel plans and passports in order. And I’m thrilled that I happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to participate! my thanks go out to Allison Markin who really made this happen here for our area and to all her minions and sponsors.
Some things I learned during my fabulous immersion into the world of Wine Blogging were:
1. Don’t overdo it on the first night.
Or this may happen:
I was so excited to get started that I jumped in with both…glasses so to speak. I started trying whatever was offered and suddenly realized “Hey! I didn’t really eat yet and I am getting rather tipsy!” So I slowed down a bit, ate a few of the amazing Gone Crackers and made note to eat more before anymore tasting sessions. Which brings me to the next point.
2. Learn to Spit
I know it’s the right way to taste wines and not get tipsy…now I know ! But heck! All that gorgeous wine just getting spat out into buckets seems so wrong to low budget old me! I started telling the pourers to slow down on the pours during the speed tasting sessions , but more about those later!
3. Maybe I do like White Wines after all!
Well, some of them. I’ve discovered I like Rieslings. I guess I am less a fan of those rich, sweet whites. Chards and Chenins don’t seem to appeal to me but I’d love to find some I do like. The best white of the weekend for me was the Upper Bench 2012 Riesling presented to us (at my table by the winemaker Gavin Miller) which rocked my white wine hatin’ sox. It so impressed me that 5 nights later I texted my guy to picked some up on he way home from work- he claims to not have seen the txt in time….hmmmm…but I will be popping in there soon for their wine and cheese and a blog to come!
4. Charge your camera and take some freakin’ photos!
Sure, I have a phone that takes pictures but it’s a Blackberry and it takes crappy photos, most of which are too crappy to add here. Plus while everyone else was snapping pics of scenery, I thought, In my infinite wisdom”I live here! I don’t need scenery photos!’ Duh! Wrong! My amazing hike on day One with the Okanagan Falls Winery Association would have been so much easier to blog about with some great photos. more about this in 5.
wine blogger epic photo fail
5. OK Falls has some great wines and some great views!
I chose the Hiking Out Trip sponsored by the Okanagan Falls Winery Association which took us up high above the southern end of Skaha lake to feast on lovely sandwiches, fruit and of course, delicious wines from the wineries of that area. I can’t wait to have time to explore these wineries and do that hike again!
6. Wines from Uruguay are really good and I like Tannat, a wine I had never tried or even heard of before. Also the people of Uruguay are very smart and drink up most of the wine thus we can’t get much of it here in Canada. I met one of the Winery owners, Leslie Fellows of Artesana, and fell in love with her Tannat wines and just hope we can buy them here sometime at a decent price.
7. Speed Wine Tasting/Blogging is super fun and ridiculously crazy. It’s like speeding dating only wine makers come to your table every 5 minutes to try to engage you and seduce you to have a relationship with their wine. Very exhilarating!
Something I knew but was reminded of at every turn…
-We live in a very beautiful part of the world here in the Okanagan Valley. Where else can you visit great wineries, climb mountains, play on a lake, ski, golf and experience great weather? Sure our wines aren’t available much outside of the Province or the Country but that’s possibly better for our wine tourism industry. Come here! Try our wines!
I need to go to more conferences! Well seriously, where else can I meet lovely, like-minded people, eat fabulous foods, drink great wines and learn new things?