Summary of the Wine Bloggers Conference 2012: Part I

This post is one of a two-part series that briefly summarizes my experiences at the Wine Bloggers Conference in a light-hearted manner.  These posts will be followed later by a more academic/scientific analysis of specific events of the conference, as well as my plans for expanding The Academic Wino blog.

The Academic Wino is back from the Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC12) in Portland, Oregon!  All I can say is; “holy sleep deprivation, Batman”!  Thanks to a scholarship from the WBC Scholarship, I had such an amazing time at the conference: I made a lot of new friends, learned a wealth of information both related to blogging and wine, and tasted literally hundreds of amazing wines from all over the globe!

I plan on writing more detailed posts on some of the more interesting parts of the conference from an academic standpoint in the near future, however, since I am still recovering from all the traveling, today I will simply summarize all of the fun times that were had and share a few pictures!

The weekend for me started off at 3:45am EDT in Charlottesville, VA.  Being the cheap person that I am, I ended up with 2 layovers: 1 in Charlotte, NC, and the next in Phoenix, AZ before landing in Portland at 1pm PDT.  After unpacking my things in the hotel room, which I shared with another Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship award winner, Nannette Eaton of Wine Harlots, I decided the most logical thing would be to go for a run in along the river in the great city of Portland!  I’m certain this added to my fatigue, but seeing as how I’m training for my next marathon, it needed to be done!

The kick-off to the conference was the Welcome Reception Thursday night, hosted by the Oregon Wine Board.  Here I met Jeff Weissler from Conscious Wine and Luke Whittall from Wine Country BC, and tasted the night away sampling wines from several Oregon wineries, including many that were biodynamic and/or organic.  Barely able to stand any more, due to exhaustion and not inebriation (hey-I was spitting!), I called it a night in hopes that my body would shift over to Pacific Time instead of working on Eastern Time!

Just one of the many wines consumed over the weekend!

Feeling somewhat refreshed Friday morning, I decided to go for another quick run before taking part in the registration and trade show.  My hunger was satisfied later in the morning at the Argentine Food and Wine pairing brunch, which was full of amazing Argentinean morsels and equally delicious wines.  A fun little extra during this brunch was the live Argentinean dancers entertaining us with their body poetry. 

The Conference officially opened with the key note speech by Randall Graham, which was both inspiring and downright hilarious.  Immediately following Graham’s speech was the first Live Blogging session of the conference.  I have to say, this sort of thing was new to me, as you know that tasting and reviewing wines does not fall along the lines of the mission of The Academic Wino.  Of course I’ve tasted many wines in my life; however I’ve never talked about any specific wines in particular in a blog post.  Regardless, I tasted all 10 wines that made their way to my table, made notes, and thoroughly enjoyed this new experience.

Tasting wines overlooking Phelps Creek Vineyard

After the tasting, we split up into several busses and headed off toward different wineries.  I was on Bus 1, which ended up heading to the Columbia Gorge AVA, specifically, Phelps Creek Vineyard.  Once we arrived, we took a hayride up to the vineyard itself, since the road there was in no condition for a bus to handle.  We enjoyed a reception and tasting overlooking the vineyard that featured wines from Phelps Creek Vineyard, Vento Wines, The Pines Vineyard, Cathedral Ridge Winery, and Naked Winery. 

Following the reception, we took a short tour of the vineyard and then made our way up to the crush pad for an amazing 5 course dinner with wine pairings.  The food and wine were absolutely amazing, and will surely be an experience I will never forget.  After dinner, we got back on the bus and made the hour-long trip back to Portland. 

Amazing view of Mt. Hood from Phelps Creek Vineyard

Of course, being on Eastern time and after having wine all day in the 100 degree sun (I swear, I spit almost the whole time!), I was utterly exhausted and called it quits once we got back to the hotel.  This decision resulted in me missing The Night of Many Bottles, where everyone brought at least one bottle from their home region or cellar.  I brought the 2010 Festa di Bacco Super Tuscan-style blend from Afton Mountain Vineyards, though since I didn’t attend the event, I have no idea what people thought of it!  Wine bloggers:  if you remember tasting this wine, please let me know what you thought! 😉

Stay tuned for the remainder of the summary tomorrow, and also a brief summary of what I learned regarding growing my own blog in addition to how I plan to expand the blog in the coming months.

Thank you again to all those who donated to the WBC Scholarship, as well as all those involved with putting this conference together.  It was a truly amazing experience, and I am eternally grateful for all that I have gained from my time in Portland.

10 comments for “Summary of the Wine Bloggers Conference 2012: Part I

  1. Wineknurd
    August 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Sounds like a lot of fun Becca, can't wait for part 2!

  2. cono_sur
    August 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Sounds like a good time, Becca! Looking forward to part 2 and hope to make it next year!

  3. August 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    It was fun! I wish I had more time to the city and maybe do some hiking, but alas, not this year!

  4. August 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    We missed seeing you! I hope I'll be able to go next year as well. It'll be tough logistically getting all the way over to BC, but hopefully I'll be able to make it happen!

  5. Mary Cressler
    August 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    It was great meeting you and spending some time getting to know you in PDX! I'm so glad you got to go out to the Gorge on your excursion. You went to one of my favorite places out there.
    Cheers, Mary

  6. August 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Hooray for Bus #1!

  7. August 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks, Mary! It was great to meet you as well! I loved the Gorge! I feel lucky to have been on that bus!

    Hope to see you at the next conference!

  8. August 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Woohoooo! Bus 1 rocked! 🙂

  9. Basis Altersvorsorge
    September 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I do believe all the concepts you have offered on your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for beginners. Could you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

    • Becca
      September 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I understand your concern about some people not understanding the comments since they were relatively brief. Of course, given the title of this post, it was meant to be a quick summary description of my experiences at the Conference, with elaborations on some topics to come later. In fact, I have written in great length about one such topic from the Conference, and that is the Neuroscience of Wine Tasting. You should read that article for more detail! Click here to read all about that:

      If you read any other of my posts, you’ll find I go overboard with detail, so hopefully you’ll find other posts more along the level of detail that you are looking for!

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