Un Week-end à l’Hospice

Don’t panic. I didn’t actually spend the weekend in the hospital. Rather I spent the weekend in the Côte de Beaune for the 154th Wine Auction organized by Christie’s benefiting the Hospice de Beaune, a nonprofit hospital in Burgundy. And what an amazing weekend it was.

So before the exciting details a little bit of history is in order. The Hospice de Beaune, or the Hôtel-Dieu, is an ancient charitable hospital in the heart of Beaune, considered the heart of Burgundy. Housed in an iconic 15th Century building the Hospice provided free medical services and food to the poor. Today a museum, this antique hospital was still in use during the 1980s. But the organization lives on and provides high-quality modern medical services.


The Courtyard of the Hôtel-Dieu

But what truly makes this organization unique is the wine. Continue reading

The DWCC: Final Take Aways

Ok. I know I’ve been writing a lot about the Digital Wine Communication Conference. I promise I’m almost done. And this post will be shorter than the other. So without further ado, here is my final list of take-aways from the conference

  • Wine nerds are not very formal
  • Neither are social media geeks
  • Never get between a wine blogger and the wine
  • Wine bloggers are seriously passionate about what they like and may god help you if you disagree
  • Not all aromatized wine-based beverages are crap (and yes I’m still having a hard time processing this one)
  • Swiss Wine is surprisingly complex and surprisingly good
  • So is English Sparkling wine
  • Conferences can be fun
  • Conferences are exhausting
  • Conferences are great for networking
  • Switzerland is an expensive place
  • Switzerland is a naturally beautiful backdrop but their innate practicality doesn’t always make for a beautiful city. Click here to see all the photos from my weekend.
  • What I know about social media is just a drop in the hat
  • What I know about wine is just a drop in the hat
  • My blog can (and will be) so much more
  • I need to visit Porto
  • Ditto for Turkey
  • And ditto again for the Mosel valley
  • And again for Piedmonte
  • Clearly I just need to travel more or at least I need to indulge in more oenotourism
  • I want a Coravin to play with
  • I want a copy of Wine Grapes
  • I NEED a new cell phone. After all it is a basic tool of my profession 😉
  • I may mock but I am one of those social media and one of those wine nerds

I’m already keeping my fingers crossed that my job situation will allow me to attend the conference next year. And for now, at least I’ve got an expended network to keep in touch with.

The DWCC: Day 1

This post was written the night of Halloween 2014, which also happened to be the first day of the conference. Due to inconsistent wifi, a lack of upload capability and sheer fatigue I am just now posting it. 


DSC00108Montreaux, Switzerland. Strategically perched at the foot of the Alps on the shores of Lake Geneva, Montreaux is considered a musical mecca. But this year it was also home to the Digital Wine Communication Conference.

It also was the home of my first conference. I have to admit I was nervous making my way to Switzerland. A new country, a new adventure and a new chance to network. But ultimately today proved to be enlightening, thought-provoking and ultimately a lot of fun. I got to spend sometime with some great classmates, drink great wine and make some great connections.

©CoravinAfter a distressingly early train ride, the day began with an interesting Keynote from Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht. With a background in medical development, Lambrecht was a wine enthusiast looking for a way to taste a bottle of wine without having to remove the cork. Despite a bottle breaking scandal, his clever invention is taking the wine world by storm. Using a fine gauge needle, the user is able to draw wine through the cork and replace the space with an inert gas. I also now officially want one to play with. But I guess I don’t have the cellar to truly enjoy it…yet.

IMG_1410Then things got a bit..interesting with a blind tasting Exploring Flavor Bias supported by Normacorc (a cork and closure manufacturer). Consisting of four flights each of which was an exploration of different factors that can affect the aromatic profile of a wine. Differing levels of oxygen exposure. Varying levels of brettanomyces or TCA (cork-taint). And various levels of residual sugar. The results of the tasting will eventually be used for a study that will be published in Meiningers Wine Business International. For my part, I learned that I need to drink more brett wines to fully understand it. And that I am not overly sensitive to TCA. I also learned that wine bloggers are VERY opinionated and maybe a bit..reactive. Although I can’t say too much or be too harsh, I fall into that group myself.

Moving forward we attended smaller breakout sessions. The first wasn’t what I originally planned on, but lady luck was apparently looking out for me. I sat in on a very interesting storytelling seminar with celebrated photojournalist, Christian Payne of Documentally. I want to be him when I grow up.

I then sat in on a great SEO seminar. I could go into more detail here but I don’t want to be too nerdy, although it may be too late for that.

Disrupt-winetalks-01The evening then finished off with the Disruptive Wine Talks. A series of short presentations, focused on one key word topic such as Men, Story or Value. These talks were given by a range of interesting and engaging business professionals: Meininger’s Editor-in-Chief, the founder of Cellar Tracker and the Director of Qoin, just to name a few. Interesting and thought-provoking perspectives all, these talks were a great look at the modern and evolving world of wine.

Fondue Tree

Fondue Tree

And best of all I got to indulge my palate today. My first taste of English Sparkling Wine – surprisingly good by the way. My first taste of Georgian wines – not my favorite to be perfectly honest. My first taste of Swiss wine – still working this one out in my head. And for an amazing dinner: traditional Swiss Fondue with more Swiss Wine and some traditional Swiss entertainment. My belly is full and my taste buds have been doing a happy dance, so on that note, I’m going to bed. At least I know I’ll sleep well for sure..

I’ll be writing again soon with more updates from DWCC.