Taking advantage of a rare day off

By Monday night I was wishing I could go back in time and start the weekend and the week over again. A kitchen accident that led to stitches. A migrane. Followed by a touch of the stomach flu. It hasn’t been a good couple of days. But I was starting to feel better and my finger was on the mend. There was mood to be improved, a day off  and estates to be visited.

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So we piled in a car and headed out to Bordeaux’ Left Bank. Our first stop: Chateau Lascombes, a Second Growth in the Margaux appellation.  Continue reading

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.

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Revisions! AKA 10 Days of Studying…Maybe

Classes are over. The first round of exams has passed. I get to skip the exam next week! (yay being a native English speaker!) And my next exam is a week from Monday. I was planning to go to Bruxelles to visit my cousins but I am staying in Bordeaux to handle a few administrative details. Being a responsible adult sucks.

I’ve been to the post office, the bank. I’ve had a walk and a coffee with a few friends. I purchased and then had a prolonged and unsuccessful battle with a wireless range extender. (Have I mentioned yet that I find the wifi situation in France to be dismally depressing. And yes I know my spoiled California side is showing.) I cleaned up the apartment. I enjoyed a box sent from home. And yes I even got started on the studying…. ok I did some strategic organization for future studying sessions.

It’s only day 1.

What the hell am I going to do with myself for the next 8+ days?

The obvious answer is study. But lets be honest, I work and think best under pressure. 8 days doesn’t create a lot of pressure. Don’t get me wrong I will study and I will prep for the one exam from the instructor kind enough to walk us through the step by step requirements. Administrative duties will take a little time – particularly as I have to go stand in line at a government office – but still that leaves a lot of time in the middle.

On that note, enjoy this little gem from Wine Folly:

http://winefolly.com/tutorial/esoteric-wines-add-notches-belt/

Clearly I need to get working on my tastings. I’ve only had one on this list. So, I’m off to go wine shopping. 😉