Category Archives: Wine Seminars

Pebble Beach: Nation’s Premier Food & Wine Event When it Comes to Wine

The country’s greatest annual food and wine event with an emphasis on wine—featuring some of the world’s finest and most exclusive wines–ended this past Sunday in Pebble Beach, California. Continue reading

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6th Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine: A Culinary Extravaganza

What would you choose for a special meal if you knew it was going to be your last? This is a question often debated amongst chefs when they relax with colleagues at the end of a long night of service. Continue reading

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Petite Sirah: Stealth Grape Approaching Its Moment?

I learned from this year’s Petite Sirah Symposium, the tenth year of this event, that the 2010 vintage, bottlings of which are just starting to hit the market, is probably the grape’s best vintage since Petite debuted as a “soloist.” Maybe this California heritage variety, which has for so long been in relative stealth mode, is finally poised for its breakout moment. Continue reading

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Cayuse: Frenchman in Oregon Crafts Intense, Flavorful Wines Amongst the Cobblestones

What’s the result of all this biodynamic farming, experimentation with high density plantings and varied winemaking techniques? Pretty impressive wines as a whole, with some vintages, like 2006, being even more amazing.
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Visit from the Wine World’s Greatest Island: Madeira’s Top Five Producer/Exporters

During the course of the day, I tasted 41 Madeiras from five of the island’s major producer/exporters. The oldest was the stunning and powerful 1912 D’Oliveiras Verdelho. Fifteen of the wines were vintage Madeiras–wines that must spend at least 20 years in cask, and that often spend decades more than that in old neutral oak barrels before being bottled for release. We also tasted many blended Madeiras, from Rainwater to five, 10 and 15 year old bottlings, and special proprietary blends. The day’s tastings verified my opinions of some of these producers, whose wines I’ve sampled many times before, and gave me some new insights into what’s happening in the tiny but incredibly special world of fortified wine production on the volcanic island that lies much closer to the coast of North Africa than it does to Portugal and Europe. Continue reading

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Why I Won’t be Attending the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference

I wrote here in late July about the largely unfortunate experience that the North American Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC11) in Virginia this year turned out to be. That post generated quite a lot of traffic and discussion. A number of people, including many WBC11 attendees, supported my comments and Tom Wark, who created the Wine Blog Awards that he passed on to the WBC organizers, wrote me a few days after my post to ask whether I’d be willing to be part of a group or committee to help advise the WBC organizers going forward, including meeting with them before WBC12 to discuss programming and the like. I said yes. In light of the organizers apparent willingness to hear from interested people about programming and other suggestions, I was definitely willing to give them another chance to organize an event that was aimed more at the interests and needs of wine bloggers. As events have transpired, however, Tom’s invitation to me to be part of the advisory committee was not honored by the WBC organizers, and I now have no intention of participating in WBC12 in any way. Continue reading

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2011 Wine Bloggers Conference: Sponsor Programming Heavy, Relevant Content Light

I may not be welcomed back to one of these things in the future after registering here my honest impression of this event. Realistically, though, I wouldn’t want to return if there’s not a major change in the way it’s structured, especially the total domination of the program by activities devoted to the event’s sponsors. But if one or more of us don’t speak up when the organizers go way overboard in selling off the vast majority of the program time to sponsors, what does that say about journalistic values in wine blogging? Continue reading

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