What I’ve Learned At the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference
1. The choice of Charlottesville for the location of the conference is an inspired one. Not only is it a town filled with gracious and proud folks, but it oozes history. And for a long-time student of American history, it's actually kind of difficult to explain the thrill to walk amongst that history.
2. Jancis Robinson, the first keynote speaker at the Conference, might be unique among practiced and established wine writers: She seems to understand perfectly that wine bloggers are really members of her species: the wine writer. What sets them apart is merely the platform they use to publish. This acknowledgement has implications for many.
3. 100 degree heat combined with 50% Humidity is the enemy of enthusiasm.
4. If you are a student at the University of Virginia and if you aren't inspired by its grounds and history to heighten your embrace of education and the arts, then you deserve to be expelled on the spot.
5. Even the most informed and bright among us can do very little to make the legalities of wine a fascinating topic for the vast majority of even the most enthusiastic wine folks.
6. The government and legislature of Virginia needs to do more to topple the regulatory barriers that stand between its wineries and their fabulous wines and their ability to bring those wines to market. They need to be able to sell directly to stores and restaurants without the burden of jumping through hoops created by a wholesaler dominated, antiquated three-tier system.
7. It's not just the bloggers in the room here who are excited about blogging, but apparently it is also the folks at potential locations of future bloggers conferences that are excited about blogging. At least one potential future location for the bloggers conference, the Okanagan Valley, has set up a facebook page to lobby for the attention of a future Wine Bloggers Conference.
8. Monticello, where we wine bloggers enjoyed dinner, is not merely an American treasure, but it is a symbolic American wine treasure that needs to be jealously guarded, celebrated and promoted by any wine blogger who can appreciate the historic aspects of the American wine industry.
9. The wines of Rioja need to be more deeply explored.
10. At 48 years of age, I often feel like the oldest blogger in the room, yet instead of lamenting that fact, I'm finding solace in the idea that I might be some sort of bridge.