In case you have been wondering what Iâ€™ve been up to this past week, I had been given the opportunity to attend the Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) (formerly known as the European Wine Bloggers Conference) and so Iâ€™ve been up to my elbows in meetings, seminars, and tastings.Â This yearâ€™s conference was held in LogroĂ±o, Spain, which is located in the Rioja region of Spain.
The most exciting news of the event for me personally was that I was named the recipient of the Donnafugata for Excellence in Enotourism.
According to the DWCC website, â€śThe Donnafugata Award for excellence in enotourism communications was given to one EWBC Scholarship applicant who shows great depth of knowledge, skill, and
Just in case I was to be awarded with the honor at a formal ceremony, I had prepared an acceptance speech ahead of the event.Â Due to the packed schedule, however, I was not asked to come up and say anything, so instead I would love to publish my acceptance speech here for you all today on this blog.
â€śA huge thank you goes out to Anna Ruini and the entire Donnafugata Winery team, as well as the DWCC organizers and the judges for this yearâ€™s scholarship applications.Â I am humbled and honored by receiving this award and I am eternally grateful to all those who deemed me worthy of this accomplishment.
If you had told me 2.5 years ago that Iâ€™d be here in Rioja accepting this award, I would have thought you were crazy.Â I didnâ€™t start out blogging with the intent of winning awards and gallivanting about the world.Â I started my blog, The Academic Wino, with the intent to create content that I felt was missing from the general blogosphere but was nonetheless very important for the understanding and appreciation of a worldwide tradition.Â
Inspired by my fiancĂ©, who owns and operates the personal finance blog mypersonalfinancejourney.com, I wanted to be able to provide a service to the wine industry based on my own unique set of qualifications and skills.Â
Iâ€™ve been a lover of wine for years.Â As a descendant of the Bonesio family who were in the first wave of Italian immigrants to the United States to start wineries in California, wine literally flows through my veins.Â Interestingly enough, I wasnâ€™t aware of this winery connection by blood until after I had started my blog, and only learned within the last year or so of my enological roots.
Throughout my life, Iâ€™ve loved learning about the world.Â From sitting in the forest in northern Vermont as a kid observing Mother Nature from the safety of my tree branch fort, to establishing surgical techniques in
an immunology lab at Harvard University for burn injury research, I have strived to understand all that I can about the world around me and to help me eventually leave the world in a better place than where I found it for my children and for generations to come.
My admiration for science, education, and wine developed somewhat concurrently, though wine officially did not come into the picture until the past decade of my life or so.Â After finishing up my graduate studies in Environmental Sciences and working at various wineries in Virginia, I was attracted to the idea of marrying the two disciplines together in blog form, to further educate not only myself, but others as well in the art and science of enology and viticulture and how it relates to the environment and public health.
How we treat the land and how we make the wine is inherently connected to our lives whether we see it or not.Â As ecosystems are comprised of a web of interconnected life and harmony, any changes to this environment could have dire consequences, regardless of how small that change may appear.Â We need to learn all we can about these interconnected relationships, and apply that knowledge to all industries, including in winemaking and grape growing in order to maximize our progress all the while protecting future generations from potentially harmful mistakes in the short term.
This kind education can be ultimately tied directly to the emerging field of Enotourism, which is a magnificent way to both educate inquiring minds about wine and to help plant the seeds of sustainability, success, and culture in the eyes of many instead of the few.Â Awareness of how the world around us works is key for both forward progress as well as maintaining culture and tradition.
Without the Donnafugata Award for Excellence in Enotourism, I would not have been able to attend this prestigious conference full of fascinating individuals who each have their own unique set of core knowledge to share with and educate the others.Â By immersing myself in this sea of wine bloggers and writers from all over the world, I gain an even greater appreciation for wine, for if it wasnâ€™t for wine, I wouldnâ€™t be making these new lifelong friends and establishing these common bonds of knowledge and promotion of a sustainable world where all are equal, happy, and maybe a little tipsy.
Thank you again to every single person who I have interacted with both in person and over the interwebs, as without you, The Academic Wino is just another blip in the matrix.
Never stop asking questions.Â
Never stop learning.
Be kind.Â Be happy.Â Drink wine (responsibly). Â â€ś