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3rd August
written by The Chronicler

In no particular order, here are my top ten personal experiences of the 2011 Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Charlottesville, VA:


  1. Jancis Robinson!  Need I say more?  Well, I will anyway…I was inspired by her in more ways than one.  The best take away from her keynote address: take an inclusive and courteous tone to engage your community of readers and followers.
  2. Giving up on taking tasting notes during the first reception. Throughout the three day conference…We. Tasted. So. Much. Wine.  It was impossible to keep up with tasting notes for each wine.  I jotted down a few notes for only the best wines I tasted, except…
  3. During both live blogging sessions, my tasting notes for each wine were documented on the blog or on Twitter.  Live Blogging about 12 different wines in a single hour forced me not to overthink and go with my first impressions.
  4. Wining and dining at Monticello despite everyone sweating in the extreme 100+ degree heat and a tour guide who rambled on about how difficult a choice it must have been for one of Jefferson’s slaves to leave his family and the comfort of the Monticello Estate to escape slavery.  Really???

    Jefferson's former home at Monticello

  5. Eric Asimov’s keynote was full of so many gems of wisdom.  I appreciated his emphasis on wine drinking as an experience.  He encouraged us to ditch the tasting notes instead connecting with our readers by creating context.  Whether the context is the story behind the wine or the meal that it is paired with, wine is meant for drinking, not just tasting.
  6. Chatting with Matthieu Finot about his personal journey to becoming the winemaker at King Family Vineyards and his philosophy around winemaking.  I’m definitely going to interview him for the blog at some point.

    Matthieu Finot chatting with us over lunch.

  7. Bringing our own wine to the wine pairing dinner banquet because only half of the VA wine they served was worth drinking.  Shouts to the duck pate and Horton Vineyards sparkling Viognier pairing—amazing!
  8. Blending my own wine, compliments of Rodney Strong, using the varietal components of Symmetry Meritage.  My creation wasn’t as good as Rodney Strong’s, but hey, wimemaking is hard, especially at midnight after a long day of wine drinking.

    A glass of my own Meritage

  9. After three days of tasting wine and several after parties, seeing one of my fellow bloggers walking around the hotel in nothing other than his hotel robe on.  Classic!
  10. Last but certainly not least, making lots of new friends, including a Canadian wine celebrity, a renaissance man, a super mom, a trail blazing sommelier, lots of Chi-town and DMV peeps, reformed lawyers, and lots more people who are simply passionate about wine.

See you all in Portland next year!

For more post-conference wrap ups, click here and here.



  1. I am so thankful to have met you early and and visited throughout the conference. I really enjoyed chatting (and tasting) with you.

    And I love your Top Ten. I had to smile as I read every single one.

  2. 04/08/2011

    That’s so kind, Amy. I really enjoyed getting to know you as well. I’m looking forward to the next time we toast together.

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  4. 05/08/2011

    The Renaissance Man says “Hi” and he agrees with your assessment of the conference, though he missed the dude in the bathrobe. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

  5. 05/08/2011

    Hello there, Renaissance Man! Thanks for reading The Cork Chronicles!

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