The Wine Bloggers’ Conferences are always a whirlwind, and this year’s conference was no exception. It was a packed 5 days in the Livermore Valley and Lodi wine country with other wine nerds who love sharing what they’re eating and drinking just as much as (if not more than) I do. Every year, I come home from the WBC re-energized and chock-full of ideas, which is why this year was my 5th conference. So, to get things started, here are my top 10 takeaways from WBC16:
10. I’m no longer 23 years old, so 5 hours or less of sleep for 5 days in a row means heading home feeling run down and with a cold; I’m admittedly a little disappointed in myself.
9. Livermore Valley is not only home to some beautiful vineyards, but some impressive windmill farms; my pictures from the bus don’t do it justice, but I’ve never seen anything like it.
8. There are over 100,000 acres of wine grapes planted in Lodi, and 7 Deadly Zins are what people know best; because that was my impression of the area, I rarely drink Lodi wine at home, and I assume that is why I have a devil of a time finding it in DC wine stores and restaurants…all of that needs to change.
7. Michael David Winery survived prohibition by continuing to grow grapes, but instead of making wine from those grapes, they were shipped with instructions on how NOT to ferment them.
6. The Lodi Native Project Zinfandels were some of my favorite wines during the conference, and the work these winegrowers and winemakers are doing is very impressive; the project is a collaborative project by 6 Lodi winegrowers (although there will be more for the 2015 vintage) that not only highlights the region’s heritage Zinfandel vines, but also requires the wines to be produced through sensible farming and minimalist winemaking practice protocols.
5. People should start looking to Livermore Valley Wine Country for fun, elegant wines; whether it was the large producers like Concannon Vineyards and Wente Vineyards or smaller producers like Vasco Urbano Wine Company and Page Mill Winery, there is a lot of quality wine in all price ranges to be found in the area…so, drink up (or don’t because it means there will be more for me).
4. The Livermore Valley Wine Country is closer to the San Francisco airport than Napa/Sonoma, and Lodi is only a little further away from San Fran than Napa/Sonoma, so there is no reason why both places can’t become just as popular with wine lovers; both are definitely wine destinations I need to revisit.
3. There is a reason why Lodi is the self-proclaimed Zinfandel capital of the world (besides producing 32% of California’s premium Zin, what they are producing is delicious), but…
1. The conference is like a big family reunion, except instead of blood relatives, I get a chance to see my wine blogging family, many of whom I haven’t seen in a year or two, and meet new additions…and it’s my favorite part!
Question of the Day: Have you had wines from Livermore Valley or Lodi? What did you think? Do you have a favorite?
Bonus Question if you attended WBC15: What was your #1 takeaway from the conference?