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First, look at this.
Okay. Savour this too:
The beauty shots are misleading.
You might think I’m attending for the gorgeous scenery. The sixth annual Wine Bloggers Conference will take place June 6-8, 2013 in Pentiction, British Columbia in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. And by the heart, I mean the middle of the narrow 160 kilometre stretch of wine country from the US border north to Kelowna.
Here’s a map.
Since 2008, bloggers from around the world have gathered annually in a wine region to sip free-ish wine, commune in the cult of the blogosphere, and talk about… blogs. I presume. This is the first time it’s being hosted in Canada and the first time for me as well. There’s a cost to attend, but it’s minimal when considering the food and wine provided. Wineries keen on getting exposure provide wines. Bloggers who like to sip come. The region hosting gets a boon in tourism. This is how blogging conferences work. I think. I’ll find out next month.
But in all honesty, I’m going for fun. Pure and simple.
Sure, I’ll learn more about one of my local wine regions, visiting sites and sipping flights.
Yes, all wine learning is good when back in wine school for an intense two-year program (WSET 4 Diploma) that recommends a minimum of ten hours of study a week, with strong admonishment to set a study schedule or risk failing – as a welcome on Day One.
So I bought new notebooks.
I haven’t yet set a study schedule. But I will.
Normally, I get all my notebooks in Seoul. Yes, the capital of South Korea. But I couldn’t wait for my next jaunt. Seoul has these giant bookstores with the best selection of notebooks. It is absolutely THE best and each time I go, I have to remember to leave half a suitcase empty for the notebooks. They’re also super inexpensive. A good notebook is as vital to taking good notes as is a good pen.
But I digress.
Yes, the breakout sessions on google hangouts and search engine optimization will finally force me to use these tools.
I’ll not only sip on our local wines, but also partake in more wines from Ontario, South Africa, Greece and Uruguay! That’s right! Uruguay.
And I’ll be tacking on a few personal excursions for actual stories – researched, double checked and written.
Not that the facts aren’t facts on my Blog posts. They are. They just won’t be meticulously sourced (as in who said that?) as in a journalism piece.
Hopefully, I’ll meet and stay in touch with fun, wine-smitten, travel adventuring bloggers (who can also spell and use proper grammar). Those who can’t or don’t, please try. And yes, you give bloggers a bad name. Get an editor. Use spell check.
But ultimately, for me, a journalist (and now blogger? I have to admit, I have trouble with this title. More on that later) who prefers well-researched reporting to opinion, who still prefers the tactile experience of reading in print (studies show we read with more attention in print than online, which is why my first blog post related to WBC 2013 – hashtag #wbc13 – is full of photos and categorized under Blog/WBC 2013)… Where was I again?
Oh yes. For me, my participation in my first Wine Blogging Conference is simply to sip and enjoy the company of other wine lovers.
Then blog about it.
(Okay. There’ll be some inadvertent learning as well).
Maybe, you’ll want to follow along.
You can find me on Twitter as well.
Please keep the wine flowing.
Those interested in visiting beautiful BC wine country, check out this new handy dandy website: www.winebc.com
If not deliciously obvious, I am a big fan of wine. I’m also big on BC wine – whites in particular. It’s becoming one of my specialties.
Blogger Service Announcement
Those attending the Wine Bloggers Conference are eligible to enter a contest by TheWinedUp.net and MyWineConcierge.com to have two nights of their hotel stay at the Penticton Lakeside Resort covered by these folks. More details here.
*This is a full-length Musings & Misadventures column online. Pair with leisure, a glass of wine.
At a (not so) recent Vancouver American Wine Society wine dinner, I couldn’t help but think that wines are like people – incredibly difficult to describe.
There were the obvious characteristics: colour, body weight, and levels of tannins and acid. This is what we observe in official wine school. This is what you get in tasting notes from the wine experts.
If you applied it to a man, say, you’d get something like blue-eyed, brown-haired man of medium build, grumpiness balanced by acerbic wit. If you observed and practiced enough after attending human school, you could perhaps also add that said man had cerulean blue eyes of med+ intensity and 156,000 strands of med++ brown hair.
Doesn’t tell you much about the person, does it? Was he the type you could bring home to your parents for family dinners? Get along with your eclectic mix of friends? Someone who enjoyed conversations over meals?
We were seated at a long table, sipping through a flight of nine wines paired with a multi-course meal served family style in communal dishes passed around. As we sipped, I asked those around me, ‘How would you describe it?’
I like it.
I prefer this one over that.
Actually, that’s a lie. It was more like
I love this.
I love that more.
I love them all.
(They were good wines, and similar in style)
Fair enough. But I’m a writer. If I had any hope of writing about wine, I needed to find words that described it in ways that conveyed something in what I was sipping. Not just to those who’d been to wine school. Not just ‘I loved it’. Something you could imagine if you weren’t there, tasting along with me.
Then it occurred to me. What if wine were people? How would we describe wine then? So I start. I am a straight female, and being that I’m in love with wine…
“If wines were men, Cabernet Sauvignon is the man I dream of marrying. He just smells so good!”
The lady to my left is up to playing. “He’s good with tools.”
“No… he’s more than just handy with a toolbox ––”
“He’s good with POWER tools.” The lady on the left diagonal to me joins in.
“Yes, that’s right! He’s not just good with tools, he’s good with POWER tools.”
And did I mention how he smells so fabulous? He’s the kind of man who can chop wood – with an axe! – what with his affinity for oak. With age, his hair turns silver, not bald, giving him an elegant charm. He might be rough in youth but mellows with a depth of sweetness that can only be developed with a bond of passion and dedication.
Now Pinot Noir, as much as I love Pinot Noir, he doesn’t exist. I don’t dare dream of marrying him, let alone meet him. He’s strong, yet gentle in wondrous ways. He’s the gorgeous, thoughtful man who sweeps you off your feet in the bedroom. Outside, he’s the rock star – everyone wants to be near him. Then you discover something surprising. Why, he ballroom dances! But, he doesn’t exist. Because men who are as sensitive as he – what with his thin skin and inability to thrive in most environments like Cabernet – well, they burn with jealousy when you need down time in the tropics and are positively intolerant of your writing retreats in winter wonderlands. Anyway, have you ever met a man capable of power tools AND secretly glide gracefully across a ballroom? No, I think not.
Grenache was a good guy. He may not be the alpha male or the most desirable, but he’s the kind of guy who gets along with all your friends. The kind of man who does well at parties – friendly, warm, heck, he lives for the sun. It may take him longer to ripen on the vine into a smooth, worthy husband, but when he does, he’s a keeper. Because even if he does gain (body) weight, he always remembers to bring the alcohol on the way home from work.
“Syrah,” adds the woman to my left, “Well, Syrah is the man you THINK is Cabernet Sauvignon, once you’ve had a few drinks.”
So true. Sure, he peppers his conversations with a little spice, but he can be mean and astringent when not mature.
We laugh, including the Pinot Noir, as proclaimed by his lovely wife to the right side of me, and seated on my other diagonal.
We are tipsy now, sipping from our ninth glasses of wine. We liked some more than others. It was hard to describe why. But just like men (and women), we wouldn’t want to live without wine to bring such pleasure – even joy – to our lives.
Now, normally, I’d highlight my favourites and even attempt to explain why. Alas, no notes were uncovered in my search for them. And I couldn’t put off posting such a riveting online column.
Instead, read this essay by writer and author Zadie Smith on the difference between pleasure and joy.Read More
Warning: For mature audiences (you should be of legal drinking age. Also, this is a how NOT to). Sense of humour required.
My first year at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, I was intent on not spitting. You know, discharge the drool. Spew my sputum.
Spitting was icky and once almost caused a breakup.Read More
Last night, I attended the Vancouver International Wine Festival media tasting and preview. It runs for seven days from February 25 to March 3, 2013 at a variety of venues in Vancouver, Canada. Before I get to the wines, you should know this: I am a fan of this festival. I am a BIG fan of this wine festival. HUGE fan of this festival.
Not only is it the biggest wine event of the year for Vancouver, not only does it support the arts (Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival now), not only has it grown to showcase 1,850 wines from 176 wineries from 15 countries this year, it is also extremely well organized and executed under executive director Harry Hertscheg, and smoothly and professionally presented to media folk by PR pro Shannon Heth with all the details a writer needs. What struck me even more the last two years I attended was the amazing army of wine-loving volunteers, some of whom must surely help with the pouring of 30,000 bottles of wine. Now that’s a wine festival. Let’s get to the wines.Read More