Posts Tagged ‘WBC’

Bringing the Wines of New York to the Wine Bloggers Conference

032When Lenn Thompson, Publisher and Editor of LENNDEVOURS blog, and I decided to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma last month, the wheels in Lenn’s head started turning, looking for an opportunity to get our beloved NY wines in front of a group of wine bloggers from around the country and beyond sometime during our gathering. He asked me to help him to gather a selection of wines from the Finger Lakes AVA and have them shipped out to our wine blogger friend, Russ Beebe of winehiker witiculture, the official blog for californiawinehikes.com who took great care of them for us. The tasting was structured as a casual, and self-guided overview of NY wines with Lenn opening the bottles and placing them on the countertops of the kitchen area at the center of the gathering of around 40 bloggers who were invited. As Lenn outlined in his post about reactions to the New York wines, it was the end of a long day with many wines already poured during the day’s earlier events, so this casual setting was well-received. For reactions to specific wines, please see Lenn’s post and watch for updates on Open Wine Consortium.

034Thank you to all of the wineries who submitted their wines for the tasting. A recommended next step would be to follow up with some of the bloggers in attendance with additional wine submissions for their review (for those who accept submissions), from the comfort of their homes, now that they have had an overview of NY wines.  Feel free to contact me directly if you’re interested in discussing this strategy.

Dr. Konstantin Frank was one of the winery sponsors of the Wine Bloggers Conference and a review of the submitted 2006 Rkatsiteli is posted on my new friend, (and fearless WBC chauffeur) Remy Charest’s blog The Wine Case.

How Do I Feel About Finger Lakes Wine Country After Visiting Sonoma?

As you know, I recently returned from the first North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, CA in Sonoma County. This was my first trip out West and only the second wine region I have visited. One of the reasons I was anxious to explore Sonoma was for a new perspective on both the offerings and challenges of our region here in the Finger Lakes AVA. Realizing that one can become jaded by not looking outside of the wine country landscape that has become home, I ventured forward excited and looking for new perspective.

Although a good bit of our time during the conference was spent at the Flamingo Resort and Spa, the opportunities to explore bits of Sonoma were good ones. Saturday included our choice of Zephyr Adventures vineyard walks that I previously posted about. Here’s what I took away after visiting and experiencing Michel-Schlumberger.

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Beyond the amazing experience that Zephyr Adventures provided on these vineyard walks, I immediately noticed how down-to-earth and friendly winemaker Michael Brunson and General Manager Judd Wallenbrock are. I felt as if we were old friends invited to spend an afternoon in the vineyard with them. The people I encountered in Sonoma overall reminded me of the friendly, warm folks who make up the Finger Lakes Wine industry. To me, this is one of the reasons I fell in love with our wine country when I first started visiting tasting rooms in the Finger Lakes just two years ago. More than anything, in my mind, the people and the way they make you feel when you visit a new place create a connection to the region that you want to bring home with you (in several bottles!) and tell your friends and family about. And of course return to visit again.

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Remember this coming from a wine lover who has a discerning eye for detail and who is looking at the numerous choices of wine to drink and wineries to visit, in hopes of adding a new favorite to my list. What are you and your staff doing to capture your new visitors hearts and create a memorable experience that will assure repeat visits and purchases of your wine? Do you have programs in place to excite your tasting room staff each day and make them feel special so that they in turn can project that feeling to your tasting room visitors? Are they personally consulting on wine purchases for visitors (when possible) or just letting them walk around the tasting room after finishing their tasting, possibly without purchasing any bottles? I’m not suggesting that your staff hard sell anything, but rather take a few extra steps to direct and help select wine that could lead to interest in your wine club down the road and return visits to your winery. Remember, people connect with people and this could make a difference. Visitors will walk out feeling special, more so than at the tasting room where they were not given that bit of personal attention.

Am I missing anything? Feel free to chime in.

More ideas to come…

Wine Bloggers Conference Report: Our Vineyard Walk at Michel-Schlumberger

One of the items on our itinerary for the Wine Bloggers Conference was a Zephyr Adventures vineyard walk. The vineyard walk I chose after a recommendation from my friend, Tom Wark at Fermentation was the vineyard walk at Michel-Schlumberger. I have to admit that this was one of the highlights of the weekend itinerary for me. I was excited to see a vineyard in another wine region, especially one in Sonoma County which has been on my hit list of wine regions I have been dying to visit.

First let me tell you that I was impressed with Allan Wright and team from Zephyr Adventures for our vineyard walk. They kept us on schedule but were unobtrusive during the walk. I appreciated many things about this experience. Of course the beauty of the vineyard, but also the intimate experience of a small group walking and hearing about the winery and vineyard from Michel-Schlumberger’s Sr. VP and General Manager Judd Wallenbrock and winemaker Mike Brunson. Both are down-to-earth and friendly and clearly passionate about the wines of Michel-Schlumberger. We wound through 4 miles of vineyards and ended our afternoon with a true vineyard lunch complete with long table for our group in the most beautiful setting. After watching many episodes of Michael Chiarello’s NapaStyle on Food Network, this setting was Heaven on Earth for me. (I realize that I was in Sonoma and Michael films from Napa) The attention to detail, gorgeous plates of Tuscan-inspired dishes from nearby restaurant Santi’s Chef de Cuisine, Liza Hinman included family style braised pork with fresh greens and farro with a mixed greens salad of fresh figs, grapes, and goat cheese. YUM!

Here’s what made my experience at Michel-Schlumberger so special and one I will remember until I’m a very old lady: it was an intimate experience with Judd and Mike and their entire staff, the setting was absolutely beautiful and we were treated like gold during our visit. I’m impressed with all of the people I met while in Sonoma and will surely return to visit on a leisure trip sometime in the future.

I hope you enjoy this video of our halfway stop and wine tasting with Michel-Schlumeberger’s Mike Brunson. Listen in as he explains the unique qualities of the Cab 6 grape. Enjoy!

For another blogger’s post on our experience at Michel-Schlumberger, see this post from AnotherWineBlog.com.

Posts from Attendees of the Wine Bloggers Conference

Would you like to keep updated on many of the posts from the attendees of the Wine Bloggers Conference?  If so, visit the page where attendees are posting links to their blog posts on Open Wine Consortium.  And check back often to see the latest.  I think it will take quite awhile for us to complete all there is to write about from the Wine Bloggers Conference!