We are getting ready for another road trip. This time we are heading down south to Buellton which is in Santa Barbara County. It’s about 1/2 hour north from Santa Barbara. We are heading there specifically to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference 2014, #wbc14. We went to the first and second wine bloggers conference when they were held up in Santa Rosa. The first year, 2009, they concentrated on the wines from Sonoma County and in 2010 they concentrated on the wines from Napa Valley. We had so much fun and met so many nice and interesting people. This year we are very much looking forward to learning more about the Santa Barbara County wines. We will be doing a lot of tasting wine, pairing wine with food, wine blogging, learning and networking with other wine bloggers.
We are leaving Dublin on Thursday and stopping along the way at two wineries in the Central Coast region. More on those in a later post. We are going to be staying at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott and going out to dinner at Mirabelle Restaurant in Solvang. This restaurant was suggested highly to us by my brother-in-law. After 2-1/2 days at the conference we will end our stay in Buelleton by watching the final Wold Cup game. Once that game is over then we will be heading up to San Luis Obispo to the Granada Hotel. This is a small boutique hotel near the center of town. There we will be celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary. We will most likely have dinner in the bistro at the hotel. On Monday we will drive back up to Dublin stopping at one or two wineries along the way.
In my day job I sell software development and test tools for a small company called Imperas Software. Last week I was in Japan, Yokohama specifically, for a trade show. Great view of Mt. Fuji from my hotel room. The picture below, where Mt. Fuji is that white (snow-covered) spec in the middle, does not do it justice. Cell phone cameras do have their limitations.
One of the things we did as part of the trade show was to serve wine to our customers, and prospective customers, at the end of one of the days of the trade show. My task was to go out and find a few bottles of wine. So I checked out a couple of the local wine shops around the convention center, and ended up at this smaller shop, a little off the beaten path. I was surprised to find that this shop had an excellent selection of German wines. Better than most wine shops in the Bay Area, although maybe that isn’t setting the bar too high. However, German whites weren’t going to do me much good, since I had no way of keeping the wines cool for the day, until we served.
So I went for the Italian reds. (Not a real good selection of California reds, and the Italians seemed a better value than anything else in the store.) When I brought the wines up to the register to pay, I complemented the proprietor on her German wine selection, not knowing if she would understand English that well. Fortunately, she did. Her story was spending 4 years in Boston at the Berklee College of Music, studying piano. Having lived in the Boston area myself for a few years, I know of Berklee, and its reputation for producing outstanding musicians. So I said to her that she must be a very good piano player, to which she replied that it’s hard to make money at music, and wine was and is her other love. Thus the shop.
At the show, we opened a 2009 Brigaldara Valpolicella, and a 2007 Abrigo Giovanni Nebbiolo d’Alba. A Dolcetto went unopened, taken home by my local sales rep. Both wines were very good. The Nebbiolo a bit bigger up front, with tanins on the finish, probably would have been better with food, but still quite good standalone. The Valpolicella was smooth, really well balanced, and quite enjoyable.
As for the show, it was a success. Customers enjoyed the wine, and who knows? They might even buy some of our products.