Well I am back in The Biggest Little City and have come up for air after an amazing weekend in Lodi! Here’s a quick recap on day 2 of the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference. As you probably gathered from my day 1 recap, I was loving this conference. Day 2 kept the intensity going with a morning session on how to work with wineries to obtain samples for blog reviews and an amazing afternoon tour (virtual unfortunately) of Alsace.
The morning session was put on by a panel of 2 winery representatives and 2 veteran bloggers. All four provided excellent insight as to how both sides should go about handling this somewhat delicate process-the dance. In a nutshell….Bloggers need wine to review, but sometimes do not have the means to just go out and buy whatever they want. At the same time, wineries are recognizing that social media and an online presence is key to the growth of their brands. Seems like a perfect match, no? Well it quickly became apparent that this union was one that sometimes took a lot of finesse and effort, on both parts. I learned that I have a lot to do on my end before expecting the “sample treatment” from wineries, but I now have the tools to get myself there. I hope to soon be reviewing wines from all the fantastic producers out there that recognize the value of this thing called the “Interweb”.
Now on to Alsace! This was, by far, the highlight of the conference for me. And that was a total surprise. I admittedly knew very little about Alsace, but I can now say that I am able to speak intelligently about the region after just an hour session. The Alsace is a small region in the northeast of France. It is separated from the western areas of the country by the Vosges mountains. These mountains provide amazing protection from strong weather which creates an extremely dry growing season. This is perfect for the key Alsace varietals of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris just to name a few.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the WBC without wine samples and we tried three different varietals, all from the legendary Grand Cru (Best of the best) Hengst vineyard. My favorite (not even a contest) was a 2013 Riesling from Domaine Saint-Remy ($30). This wine blew my mind. I generally turn my nose up at Riesling (someday I’ll do a post on how I saved Shivani from Riesling) – but that’s the sweet German-style stuff that you find at basically every restaurant. This Riesling from Alsace was unbelievably vibrant showcasing good acidity, a dry backbone and low sugar. I have already googled where to find this stuff -a Riesling fan has been born! Anyone driving to Reno from SF in the near future? I need a courier…
So as a newbie to the WBC, I didn’t really know what to expect. However, I could not imagine a better time. I was educated by not only the sessions, but also the kind, generous fellow bloggers that I met. The willingness to sit and chat, discuss trials and tribulations and just genuinely be nice was a refreshing surprise. Perhaps it had something to do with all the wine being poured? For now, I can’t wait to see everyone in Sonoma next year! WBC17 here I come!