#Vinopanion #wine Bits & Pieces

February 29, 2016

#Vinopanion has been a wild ride these past 8+ years (so hard to believe!).  Towards the end of last year, as life got exceedingly busy and I was unable to put my best efforts to my love of #wine writing and education, I pondered what step this blog would next take. I have always treated my wine life as a privilege and have felt grateful for every turn that it has taken.  Each little or big step was only partially planned/hoped for…most things like paid wine consulting, wine judging, being flown around the world for media trips, all have been joyous surprises, though they didn’t come without hard work (on the side).

I have missed my wine world these past ~4 months, but the introspection has been useful.  I’ve come up with new plans, reapplied old ones and have concocted new post formats, such as this new one: Bits & Pieces will cover multiple topics in short, 1-2 paragraph bites.  Prepare for more news in a more concise format. And so… ¡Vámonos mis Vinopanions!

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Taking my #wine kung fu to the next level: #WSET II & Napa Valley Wine Academy

October 10, 2015

406064_562298363799327_175257724_nI have been immersing myself in the study of #wine in a semi-systematic manner for much of the last 8 years.  Indeed, #Vinopanion‘s 8 year anniversary with @WineLog is approaching in the middle of this month. Yet I have slowly realized that something is lacking in my devotion to the knowledge of the vinous delights: focus, structure and external credibility. You’d think that a trained scientist would have recognized this long ago and I did notice these thoughts in the back of my mind a few years back.  But they were always battered back by “where’s the time?” and “I’m still receiving plenty of media travel & event invites,” along with “my wine consulting services continue to expand.” Then I reached last year and I started to recognize some clear patterns in my wine work. While I had plenty of media opportunities and my fellow wine colleagues were continuing to get work, I could see that the pace of my own trade offers beginning to slow down. It was then that I noticed that most of my colleagues began to sport letters after their names on their business cards: they were taking certified educational courses to formalize their wine training. I needed to set up my wine game. It was then that I contacted the good people at Napa Valley Wine Academy (FB, Tw): “help!”

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#Napa: Back to home and #wine

December 22, 2013

I’m never one to make big leaps in my life.  Yes, about every ten years or so, the lady Beth Fontaine (Tw) and I seem to subconsciously start the process to evaluate our future in the context of our present. Yet, I can’t say that I have ever just done something on a leap of faith, staring at nothing but risk and hoped for reward, but that is the only way that I can explain our rather sudden move back home to Napa Valley.  And so we’re both happy to say that now after a month+ into our new lives back in wine country, that we’ve made a fantastic decision:

Thank you Napa, for welcoming us with open arms, wine bottles, and tasty menus. 🙂

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2013: It’s So Good to Be Here

January 1, 2013

Welcome, Year 2013 of the Gregorian Calendar!  I am normally not one to set New Year’s Resolutions…if you want to accomplish something, just DO IT!  Don’t wait until the arbitrary date set by a Pope to change your life.  On the other hand, I happen to have a number of things in flux at the moment and today just happens to be the best day to start doing them, following some weeks of drinking wine contemplation.

First off, and perhaps most importantly for all of you Vinopanions, look for a much higher frequency of postings, including many shorter ones.  While I have been rather prolific at reviewing the many wines that I taste and receive as samples, I have not been so good lately at doing actual Vinopanion posts.  This will change and as such, the Vinopanion Facebook page will also be a lot more active.

Find out more, after the jump!

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Man Falls in the Vines – #MFITV

October 25, 2011

I’m delirious to announce a new project that I’ve stumbled into, courtesy of my fantastic sabbatical, rather sabbradical, from my work at Genentech: I am working the 2011 wine harvest (#Harvest2001) at Chimney Rock Winery (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) in the Stags Leap District (WineLog) of Napa Valley, CA. I will be the harvest intern and cellar worker of which I’ve always dreamed…and basically working my ass off helping to produce fine Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, rosé, (Fiano), and Meritage wines.

My participation in the controlled chaos of crush at the Rock comes courtesy of Terlato Wine Group (WineLog), my best friend Jeff van de Pol, Assistant Winemaker; and Elizabeth Vianna (Twitter), Winemaker and General Manager.

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WBC11 Hits Virginia with Le Wine Buffs in Tow

July 21, 2011

2011 North American Wine Bloggers' ConferenceAt this point, my regular readers should know quite well about my participation in the cra cra known as the North American Wine Bloggers’ Conferences (Twitter, WineLog). We’re coming up on the 4th in this great series, after the huge success in 2008, 2009 and 2010. This year we’re invading Charlottesville, Virginia for our very first time plundering the wine life on the right coast (and East Coast wine bloggers rejoice). The state of Virginia has been exceptionally supportive and I’m looking forward to learning a ton about 5th largest wine producing state in the Union. Between the Keynote from Jancis Robinson (Twitter), the Virginia Wine (Twitter) Reception at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello for dinner on Friday, another Keynote from Eric Asimov (Twitter) and the annual Vineyard walks in the local wine country, #WBC11 looks to be just as stunning a time as years’ past.

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Kia Ora está en La Mar

June 2, 2011

Nobilo - Marlborough SoundsOK, so they don’t speak Spanish in New Zealand…they speak Kiwi English. I know this, but based on my love of Spanish food and my experiences along the coasts of both Spain and Portugal (diff language, I know!) last Summer, they might as well speak that Romantic language, what with the bright, quality wine that they put out with each vintage. Seafood is the phenom pairing for the vast majority of these wines and I’m happy to throw them together on the regular.

Now clearly, I’ve always been a fan of NZ wines, so let’s just get that experiential bias right out in the open. So when I heard that would soon be a winemaker dinner that not only paired some classic NZ winemakers alongside some fervent wine bloggers, but also some extremely tasty Peruvian seafood with said winemakers’ wines…I said [frak] yeah, I’ll come!

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The Broke Wino Looks at Value Bordeaux

January 10, 2011

A new vinopanion of mine, Sam Klingberg, has been making waves in the vino writing webernets over the last year or so with his wine blog, The Broke Wino. Sam contacted me recently to gather my thoughts on affordable Bordeaux wine. As one of Le Wine Buff for Enjoy Bordeaux for the CIVB, I have been involved in a lot of great Bordeaux-centric wine activities over the last 1+ years, including a truly spectacular trip to Bordeaux this past summer.

The dichotomy between the high prices of First and Second Growth chateaux and the remaining thousands of much more affordable, yet still high quality wine producers and chateaux is a hot topic. With the declaration of “vintages of the century” at least 3 times this decade alone combined with the increasing Asian markets, the prices of the high end Bordeaux have skyrocketed. Happily however, quality has also taken a great leap forward, all across the board.

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Le Wine Buff in France, Bordeaux Day 2

September 10, 2010

Along the Quai - Bordeaux, France.

The first day waking up in Bordeaux was a slight bit disorienting for this ‘Buff. First off, I wasn’t tired despite all of my travel overnight the day before and immediately launching into almost a full day and night of awesome Bordelaise activities. Indeed, I felt so fit that I decided to go for my first run of the trip, along the riverfront that we walked the day before. Fearless Mutineer, Alan Kropf (Twitter) took up the challenge to join me in my jogging quest.

[The documentary short of the footage taken during our trip, “Meet Le Wine Buffs“, has now launched! You can find it, as well as all of our 100 Days of Today’s Bordeaux on the Bordeaux Wine Vimeo channel.]

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WBC10 Lands in W2

June 27, 2010

2010 North American Wine Bloggers ConferenceWhile struggling to recover from Le Wine Buff in Bordeaux last week, I’m already here in Walla Walla, WA for the third annual 2010 North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference, whew! I’m going to be trying to blog a completely different this year, different from WBC08 and WBC09…I’m going to be continuously adding to this post throughout the entire, nutsovino weekend! …we’ll see how it all turns out. 😉 Let’s get diving into the fun, as I’m happily surrounded by my many, MANY talented vinopanions. Follow along yourself by tracking the #WBC10 hashtag on Twitter and keep track of our busy busy agenda here at the Marcus Whitman. Cheers!

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