The Wine Bloggers Conference 2011

Last weekend we attended the 4th annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was a weekend of mixing, mingling and networking. This was our first year attending and we had a great time. The three-day event brought together over 300 wine bloggers (by some counts there are over 1,500 wine bloggers) and wine industry leaders giving them the opportunity to share, experience, learn, sip and swirl. We’ve never been in one place with so many people passionate about wine and Internet culture. It was amazing.
Virginia was a perfect setting for this wine blogger gathering. It was in Virginia where it all started for Virginia Wine with Thomas Jefferson planting his first grapes at Monticello. So it was only appropriate that Friday evening’s Virginia Wine Reception was held on the hallowed grounds of Monticello. Bloggers had a chance to sample wines from 32 Virginia wineries, including our very own Barboursville Vineyard’s Viognier, which is Virgnia’s state grape.
Did you know there are 193 wineries in the state of Virginia? The state’s vineyards have come a long way since the early days of the Jamestown settlers. In 1619 a law was passed that required every male settler to plant and cultivate at least 10 grapevines. None of the plantings took root. It wasn’t until the early 1970′s that growers tried again, and vineyards started to flourish. Including our family’s Barboursville Vineyard.
The highlight of the three-day weekend was welcoming Jancis Robinson to our vineyard. It was completely surreal afternoon spent in the company of the wine blogging celebrity. Wine writer, critic, blogger, overall one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, she shared insights and tips on the wine writing – journalism and blogging. After spending a few hours with Jancis, it’s really true what they say about her – she not only an excellent educator and a life long student of grapes, but also an inspiration to countless people serious about wines.
This might have been our first time attending, but certainly not the last. Virginia rolled out the red carpet and truly welcomed the wine bloggers with all the bells and whistles. We loved meeting all our peers, swirling and sipping and can not wait for the next Wine Bloggers gathering, which just happens to take place in Franciacorta, Italy, October 14-16. Hope to see you there…you know we’ll be there!!!!
Jelena Meisel, Marketing Department, CVZ USA

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