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.
Montreaux, 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.
After 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.
Then 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.
The 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.
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.