Yes, ladies and gentlemen. We had Saturday School at the Wine Bloggers Conference.
There were two educational sessions were held on Saturday morning. Yeeesh. Seriously? After a night of too much wine, food and fun, they were honestly expecting us to be up and at ’em, all bright eyed and bushy tailed at 9 a.m.????????????? And ready to concentrate?!?!
I was ready. Sort of. The lure of doughnuts and wine forced me out of bed.
Doughnuts and wine, you ask? Yes. I know, odd pairing, but this is Portland for crying out loud!! The phrase “Keep Portland Weird” is more than a phrase here. It’s a lifestyle.
Anyway, Portland’s famed Voodoo Doughnut paired with the Wines of Languedoc to start the morning? YES PLEASE!!! Oh, and it helps when they had one of my favorite VooDoo Doughnut varieties, which is titled “The Loop”. Why, you ask? Because it has Fruit Loops on it!! Yes, sugary doughnut + sugary vanilla frosting + sugary cereal = major win in my book.
So after starting the morning with the furthest thing from “The Breakfast of Champions”, I meandered my way into the Wine Blogging Workshop session.
The Wine Blogging Workshop was a fantastic session. Each table was led by an experienced blogger and we all gave each other feedback on our blogs. This session gave me some great direction for ideas on what to do with this site (i.e. posts, recommendations, direction, etc.) and some basic redesign/layout feedback.
The other options at this point were:
How Bloggers Influence the Wine World
Are We Wine Writers or Wine Bloggers?
After the workshops, we were given the choice of three breakout sessions. The options were:
The Winery View of Wine Bloggers
Research on Wine Bloggers
Current Trends and the Future of Wine Sales
I picked the Winery View of Wine Bloggers. And I did *not* regret picking that session! Led by Sasha Kadey from King Estate Winery, Christopher Watkins from Ridge Vineyards and Ed Thralls from Vintage Wine Estates. This was the most entertaining session…plenty of one liners and great advice from the wineries perspective!
My favorite line? If a winery doesn’t want to talk to a blogger, who happens to *also* be a consumer, then they’re STUPID! Which I agree with.
And that line holds true for any industry. If you don’t want to talk to someone, who is approaching you in one way, but you know is a consumer, then you’re really. (bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep)ing. stupid. to not talk to them. In the industry I work in, I tell customers everyday, “I completely understand your concern about the increase in your billing statement. I’m a consumer as well and I’d be concerned if I saw an increase such as yours. Let me see what I can do to help you.” I may not use those exact words, but that’s what I aim for.
After this session, it was lunchtime. Long story short, my lunch time was spent freaking out over NOTHING due to Mother Nature turning up the thermostat. Thank you stupid driver’s side front tire on my car for freaking me out by thinking you were going flat! And thank you Les Schwab Tire Centers for letting me be a stupid idiot. Yeah, my tire looked low, but it really wasn’t.
Yeah. I’m brilliant. The girl who can accurately describe the sound her car is making and give her mechanic an idea of what she thinks it might be is a total idiot when it comes to her tires. Don’t ask.
After lunch, we regathered and had more breakout sessions. Immediately after lunch we had the choice of:
Neuroscience of Wine Tasting
The Art of Oregon Pinot – A Clonal Tasting
Now, the Psychology Dork in me was screaming, “Neuroscience! Neuroscience! You’ll be in your element, you nerd!” (my B.S. is in Psychology with an emphasis in Biological and Social/Developmental Psychology). But the Wine Dork in me said, “Clonal Tasting! That’ll be more fun!”
Yeah. The Wine Dork won. The Wine Dork may or may not have had to fight really dirty and utilize a little bit of duct tape and super glue, though. 😉
Not only did this session give one an idea of the different clones of Pinot, it also gave a history on the progression of Pinot Noir in Oregon.
Historical note, per the winemaker from Erath: The first planting of Pinot Noir in Oregon was NOT in the Willamette Valley. It was in the Umpqua Valley in 1961. A man by the name of Richard Sommer planted a cutting of Pinot Noir from the Louis M. Martini Stanly Ranch out of California. Dick Erath planted the first Pinot in the Dundee Hills (a sub-AVA of the Willamette Valley) in 1969.
The wines we tasted in this session were all from the 2009 vintage and all were from the Prince Hill Vineyard. There were three single clones and a blend.
The first was the Prince Hill 115 Clone. On the nose, it had beautiful hints of spice and leather. On the palate, there was a nice earthiness, spicy/tart cherries and a nice finish.
Next was the Prince Hill 777 Clone. On the nose, there was a lovely cherry/strawberry blend. On the palate, I got smooth, ripe cherries galore. This one was my favorite, due to the smooth texture and lovely flavors.
After the 777 came the Pommard Clone. On the nose, the Pommard gave a lovely tart cherry and herbal notes. The palate had a wonderful blend of forest floor and smoky cherries.
Then we come to the blend. Oh, the blend. It was the best of all the worlds of the clones. It was smoky, lively, vibrant. The Prince Hill blend is what I would most likely pair with Thanksgiving dinner.
After the Clonal Tasting, there were three more sessions. The Dork in me picked the option for Wines around the World, as I had no interest in Monetization or Biodynamic, Organic, Natural and Sustainable Wine. It was fun and we got to taste varietals that I had never tried before. It was quite the exercise as we had to guess what we were tasting.
Needless to say, I was waaaaaaaaaaaaay off on all of them. LOL
So now, I must come to an end, as my brain is drifting off to paths unknown. I will come back with the remaining recap, though…much more fun will be had, including Speed Dating Part II, Red Wines and a fantastic dinner from the folks at King Estate!!