This is my first post from my first Wine Bloggers Conference so please allow me a bit of leniency as things are a bit cloudy. These kids don’t mess around. Case in point…I arrived early this morning for my first session so I could get this post written and about half a sip into my almond milk chai an ice cold glass of prosecco was shoved in my face with a “good morning!”. Well, when in Rome…or Lodi.
The first day of the conference was more than I expected, in a great way. I thoroughly enjoyed the session on Veneto which dove into the amazing world of Prosecco and lightly touched on Ripasso. I learned a lot about the quality levels of Prosecco and I even received a crash course in the WSET Level 3 tasting categories. It was a fun and challenging session.
Not to take away from the Prosecco session, but getting out into the local vineyards and wineries is a huge component of why I am passionate about the juice. This is exactly what I got with the “surprise” excursion Friday evening. My group was led out to Watts Vineyards and Upstream Wines. Fermin Rameriz, Winemaker at Upstream, met our small group of 10 bloggers and led us on a tour of the facility before showing us to the tasting room and unveiling the main event of the evening…the blend competition!
We broke into teams, Fermin provided us with 5 different varietal barrel samples and we were off. After several iterations and a lot of conversation, our blend was chosen. It consisted of: 50% Cab Franc, 25% Montepulciano, 10% Syrah, 10% Barbera and 5% Zinfandel. Now all we needed to do was wait for Fermin and owner/grower Craig Watts to determine the winner.
Following a great dinner overlooking the beautiful grounds the time had come. Fermin strolled up to the front of the room and announced that Team 1 had taken top prize. Well there would have been an eruption in the room had anyone known what number team they had been on so….after that had been sorted out it was determined that my team had prevailed!
I headed back to my Airbnb with a hand signed bottle of Upstream Barbera and a sense of wonder as to what the next day may hold. On that note….my session on how to obtain wine samples from wineries is about to start. Talk soon!