13 Things I learned at the Wine Bloggers Conference

13 Things I learned at the first day of the American Wine Bloggers Conference

1. Amy Atwood of Cleanskins & My Daily Wine blog is a fascinating lovely woman whose two websites don't completely scratch the surface of her potential or involvement in the wine industry. She's one of the folks from the Wine Blogger's Conference who I immediately liked and immediately knew was meant for much greater things. Nice handbag too.

2. Quivira Winery in Dry Creek Valley's one of the best defenders of biodynamicism I've ever come across. And this comes from a "Radical Secularist" where things biodynamic are concerned. Their winemaker in particular, Steve Canter, is a fascinating, articulate fella who I'm absolutely sure I'd like to spend some time talking with over a bottle of 16.4% alcohol Zinfandel and talking about the mystical properties of Biodynamically grown grapes.

3. Vino Chapeau, that little plastic disk one places over the top of their wine glass to capture the aroma before it fades, REALLY does work. I thought it a little silly when I first saw it. When I used it I was amazed.

4. Snooth, the wine locating and information aggregation website, continues to amaze me with the time-sucking, worthwhile, innovative all together cool and enormously useful services they provide not only to wine lovers but consumers also.

5. Gary Vaynerchuk's insights and motivational qualities are only eclipsed by his stamina.

6. The folks who run the Flamingo Hotel do a fantastic job of service their guests with one exception. They need to teach their bartends how to make a good, simple pastis.

7. Terroir is a concept nearly as mystical as Biodynamicism, but much more practical to the marketing of wine.

8. Kim Stare Wallace, the lovely and talented woman who runs Dry Creek Valley Vineyards and whose Fume Blanc recently won the coveted Sweepstakes White award at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, and who maintains a terrific blog called Wilma's Wine World, is someone I regret not having gotten to know many years ago.

9. The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley are a wine association that does not do things in a half hearted way. They are innovative, active, well put together, filled with great representatives, and as an promotional organization, make a great case for driving right past Russian River, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Coast and heading west at Healdsburg.

10. The image of me at the top of this blog is not just too inaccurate, but deceptive. No less than 7 people at the Wine Bloggers Conference came up to me and said, "You look nothing like your picture." Only problem: Can't figure out if that's a good thing.

11. Randy Hall of Wine Biz Radio, besides being part of the glue that makes the Wine Blogging Community so cohesive, has the best, most authentic authentic laugh of anyone in the electronic wine world.

12. Melissa Dobson of the Family-Love-Wine blog, PR Professional, and contributor to Lenndevours, is someone any rational person looking for PR or communications help MUST consider hiring! Wark Communications surely will.

13. Cruvee, a new social networking site with great content, knows talent when they see it. They engaged Thomas Pellechia to help maintain their blog. Thomas is one of the most insightful and and experienced wine writers in America who brings remarkable perspective to his craft. This means two things: 1) Smart folks at Cruve—which bodes well for their site and 2) I get to read even more of Pellechia's work beyond his own VinoFictions.

17 Responses

  1. Michael Wangbickler - October 25, 2008

    Nice summary Tom. Friday at the Wine Bloggers Conference was both entertaining and informative.

  2. Philip James - October 25, 2008

    Tom – thanks for the mention. The time sucking thing that you are referring to is Snooth’s Pulse, I think. We dont link to it from the site yet, but the direct link is: http://pulse.snooth.com/screensaver

  3. Arthur - October 25, 2008

    Hey Tom
    I looked for you all day. I hope to bump into you today (hopefully when neither of us is carrying a glass of red wine).

  4. Melissa Dobson - October 25, 2008

    I can’t thank you enough for your endorsement and kind words. I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to meet you in person and share dinner with you tonight. You are one of my true inspirations as I pursue my dreams in this business.

  5. Lizzy - October 26, 2008

    Thank you for this post, Tom.
    From Italy nobody came, unfortunately (in this period we have some important event, as Salone del Gusto in Torino: a lot of wine bloggers are there!) but we all are very interested about your conference, how much different could be from ours (the European Wine Blogger Conference)…

  6. David J - October 26, 2008

    I’m one of the people who have not managed to visual ID you– all the way from Puerto Rico, maybe we can coax a decent Pastis from Chuy at the bar before we disband this Sunday afternoon. As ever, thanks for your insights! Cheers!

  7. Dylan - October 26, 2008

    I never heard of Vino Chapeau, but it sounds like they made a great impression on you. Worth the investment?

  8. Arthur - October 26, 2008

    Tom, Re #10:
    Yoo Lookh Maaaahhhveloos.

  9. Alan Kropf - October 27, 2008

    It was great to meet you at the WBC. You panel with Vinography was outstanding. Great list on the event!

  10. mydailywine - October 27, 2008

    Dang it Tom. Talk about stamina!
    I am shamed by your two long gorgeous posts, even in the midst of the busy WBC.
    Thanks for the shoutout.
    As I told Paul Mabray from Inertia….Lets rock the wine boat!

  11. Laurel - October 27, 2008

    #10- The photo, while nice, doesn’t do you justice.
    #13- Thank you for this tip.

  12. Remy - October 27, 2008

    Congrats on the post, Tom. I pretty much agree with the list – but would prefer Quivira’s Barrel Complete Sauvignon Blanc or their smashing Mourvèdre, as we discuss their great work in biodynamics. And we did notice some of the same people…
    Oh, and you look better and especially, friendlier than your blog picture.

  13. Randy - October 28, 2008

    Heh, you know, I mentioned #11 to my wife, and she nodded her head and said, “of course, honey. Your laugh has always been distinctive. It’s easy to find you in a crowd.”
    I sometimes forget that my laugh, while “authentic authentic” as you put it, is freaking loud. Good thing I don’t use it on the show, lest my poor listeners lose their hearing.
    Thanks for the kind words, and maybe next week you’ll want to come to Kaz’s winery for the next recording session!

  14. WineDiverGirl - October 28, 2008

    Also great to meet you. Nice run down of the personal, specific highlights at the WBC. What an amazing beginning for this industry. I’m looking forward to more.

  15. Alan Kropf - October 28, 2008

    I agree about the photo. This picture makes you look all intimidating like Michael Chiklis from The Shield, when in real life you look more like, well, nothing like Michael Chiklis from The Shield….

  16. Nick - October 28, 2008

    Yeah, you look like a big bald beefcake type dude in that pic. Kinda scary really. Not at all how you look in person. I think it’s the shirt and the lack of a smile.

  17. Steve Raye - October 28, 2008

    Re: VinoChapeau, we’ve traditionally used “watch glass” in the lab as a standardizing tool to evaluate spirits and wine. The concept is to minimize the impact of ambient air temp, humidity and air movement when nosing and tasting bev. alc. samples. With the watch glass, or in this case, branded Wine Chapeaux (congrats to them for branding the concept!) the liquid volatilizes and can’t excape…ergo, the “concentration” effect they talk about. Actually, I use watch glass…errr…now I’ll recommend Vino Chapeaux… in a protocol for evaluating vodka. The “concentration effect” does a wonderful job of concentrating, and therefore allowing people to differentiate the relative “harshness” (read apparent presence of volatalized alcohols) in samples.

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