Day 1 at the 2016 Wine Blogger’s Conference
WOW!!! There is no better word to describe Day 1 in beautiful Lodi, CA at the Wine Blogger’s Conference. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Lodi, it is located an hour and a half northeast of San Francisco.
Lodi is steeped in agricultural history. Most farm families in this area started out growing and selling fruit. Watermelon was the first fruit of choice. As the demand for grapes on the West Coast started to grow, Lodi farmers quickly realized that they had the ability to produce high quality grapes in large quantities. Lodi farmers, under the direction of very astute leadership, realized that they could produce grapes for wineries outside of Lodi. They began to invest in their own wineries, brands and labels. This created the Lodi that we know today. Rest assured that your visit to Lodi won’t be filled with large buses and limos clogging the main roads. Lodi is still a farming town at heart. They have great hotel amenities, a few small restaurants and a welcoming spirit that make a weekend visit here relaxing with a chance to make new friends. I encourage wine lovers to make a trip to Lodi (www.visitlodi.com).
Registration held an interesting twist – I needed to decide which one of 18 different excursions in Lodi would I attend on Friday evening. This wasn’t an easy choice because none of the excursions listed the name of the vineyard. All that I knew is that I would be served dinner and spend time with 10-15 of my new Wine Blogger buddies. With names like 99 Bottles and Clone Wars, I didn’t have much in the way of hints. My children have referenced our home as a chaotic symphony, so I choose Three Ring Circus. The choice that I made ended up being pretty special for me in my journey as a blogger.
Day 1 at the conference started out with talks from Andrea Robinson (www.andreawine.com), community farming leaders from Lodi and viticulturists. Check out Andrea’s website. Andrea is one of only 32 female Master Sommeliers in the world and she graduated from SMU. I learned how to actually blend wine under the guidance of Oakland Urban wineries Dashe Cellars (www.dashecellars.com)and Periscope Cellars (www.periscopecellars.com). The blending process was fun and I made a couple of wines that were well balanced and tasted great! I’ll introduce you to blending in a future blog.
Perhaps the most engaging part of the day was a Speed Blogging activity. Wine Bloggers sat at tables of 10 and local wineries from Lodi, Livermore and surrounding counties had 5 minutes to present their wines to us. I quickly learned how to taste without drinking so as to be able to stand up straight. In 5 minutes, I had the task of tweeting my impressions of each wine. There were some pretty good ones with my favorite being the Sparkling Brut Rosé from JWine (www.jwine.com).
You can read my tweets by following my handle @Positive_Vines on Twitter. You’ll see pictures and a snapshot of each sampling.
Now back to the twist at registration. For those of you who have been with me from the beginning of this journey you will know that I started my wine demos with varietals from Lodi clearly through an act of divine providence. One of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignons is Freakshow by the Michael-David Winery (www.michaeldavid.com). If you go back to my blog post of June 24, 2015, you’ll notice that the Freakshow label features a scene right from the circus – most notably Barnum and Bailey. My guess paid off. I was part of a small group of 10 who were hosted by the Phillips family – owners of the Michael-David Vineyards and Winery. It was incredible!!!
I’ll end now with a picture of some of the vineyards on the Michael-David properties. In a future blog I will write about the Phillips family and their journey to wine making prominence in Lodi. I chose well and was treated to an evening with new friends, good food and of course great wine! I couldn’t have scripted it any better. Stay tuned for Day 2.
Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!