Category Archives: Wine Blogging

Wine Bloggers Conference 2014

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.



You’ve heard of Speed Dating but what about Speed Blogging?

There are 275 wine bloggers in one room here are the Flamingo Hotel.  We just finished lunch and are eagerly awaiting the “speed blogging” to commence.  How this works is that for 6 minutes we have a winemaker come to our table.  We taste the wines, learn about the wines and the winery and winemaker’s philosophy, then have a question and answer period.  I will try my hardest to write a little bit about each winery.  After 6 minutes are up they ring a bell and then the next winemaker comes to our table.  It got kind of crazy but somehow we had 13 different wineries most from Sonoma County come to our table to showcase their wines.

Speed blogging:

1.    Schramsberg, 2006 Blanc de Blancs.  Not huge champagne fans, but this is good.  Schramsberg was the first US made sparkling wine.  Light, refreshing, has bubbles; not much more to say.
2.    2007 Bella Zin with 8% petite sirah, 3% syrah.  Lily Hill Estate, in Dry Creek Valley, a good place for Zins.  $38 each for this.  Raspberries.  OK fruit, but not my style.  My brother-in-law has always liked Bella, but not for Larry and I.  
3.    Twisted Oak Winery, which is in Calaveras County, Sierra Foothills.  $35 per bottle.  Wine is called River of Skulls:  88% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah.  Nice blend, soft, drinkable now, except that it won’t be released for another 3 weeks.  Proprietor is El Jefe, or Jeff.  Go visit.  
4.    Northwest Wine Academy, 2007 Barbera.  No winery came by on this rotation, so Josh H opened this up.  
5.    Fish Eye, 2008 Pinot Grigio, Central Valley, $6.99 each.  Brand launched in 2005.  Good nose, tropical and grapefruit; OK taste.  Lightweight summer wine.  
6.    Line 39, 2007 Lake County Petite Sirah.  39 degrees used to be the name.  
7.    Pinot Evil, pinot in a box, eco-friendly, French.  NV.  3-liter box.  Cheap, but not so bad.  
8.    Cupcake Vineyards.  2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Nick.  Soledad.  55% Monterey County, 45% Livermore; 85% Cab, plus Merlot, Petite Verdot.  $13.99.  Good value.  (They hired a local cupcake company and had chocolate and strawberry cupcakes for us with their wine inside the buttercream frosting).  YUMMY!
9.    Snows Lake Vineyard.  Think about mountains, clean air, 72% Cab Sauv. 28% Cab Franc.  2005.  Snows Lake “Two”.  Best wine so far, hands down.  Could lay down for a few years.  
10.      Cline Cellars, 2007 Ancient Vine Mourvedre.  Contra Costa County.  $16.  Plums, cherry.  Charlie, winemaker, poured for us.  Even better than the Snow!
11.      Tandem, Chardonnay, 2007.  Greg Lafollete.  Ex-Flowers.  Wife is the power, treats him like a horse, “puts blinders on”.  Partnership.  Manchester Ridge not tasting, clone Dijon 809.  Basket press.  
12.      Foggy Bridge 2007 Chard, organic, SF Bay appellation (Livermore).  Good acid, nice fruit, not a lot of oak, but sour finish that lingers.  100-acre vineyard in Livermore.  $18/ea.  
13.      Bacchus 2008 $35.  Napa.  Steve winemaker, Jill.  Sauvi, Semillon, Birbola fiola blend.  Good stuff, goes with Bouillabaisse.  Best white.  T-shirt:  what would Bacchus do WWBD?