WBW#80: Four reasons to love “My Derby Wife” Rose by WineGirl Wines

wbw_logoAt the last three wine bloggers conferences, I lucked out both with amazing pre-conference excursions and great conference expeditions as well. In 2010, a small group of us  traveled on a press trip Seattle to Walla Walla and back, tasting along the way. In 2012, on our pre-conference excursion we dined at King Estates then learned about pinot noir with Robin Pffeifer, then went by TRAIN from Eugene to Portland where I was on the infamous #cuffedincarlton bus.

In 2013, I joined the Seattle to Lake Okanagan trip by way of the Lake Chelan AVA and went on the OK Falls hike where I discovered Painted Rock which I wrote about here also. When the announcement that Wine Blogging Wednesday #80 was Dry Rose, I didn’t have to think too hard about which wine I wanted to write about: “My Derby Wife” rose Continue reading

From SeaTac to Lake Chelan: it’s time for WBC13!

After flying in on June 1 and a whirlwind weekend of 3:15 experiment poetry events in Seattle, I’m writing a paper then moving full blast into wine blogging mode! On Tuesday, after a quick trip to Woodinville home of westside tasting rooms for wines grown on the east side of the Cascades, wine writing and blogging gals like Wine Julia, Wine Hooch, Travel Wine Chick, Wild Celtic Rose and I will gather on the rooftop patio of Janice Van Cleve, former President of the Wine Society of Seattle for wine and conversation. Then Wednesday, Wine Julia, Wine Hooch, Travel Wine Chick and I plus 100 or so fellow bloggers will board buses at SEA-Tac for a pre-conference excursion to the Lake Chelan Valley on way up to the Blogger’s Conference in Penticton.

On the bus, there will be box lunches and beverages for everyone from
Blueacre Seafood in Seattle (http://www.blueacreseafood.com/) –I had such a hard time deciding between the WINDSOR COURT & DUNGENESS CRABMEAT SALAD (apple smoked bacon | tomato | avocado | red onions | bleu cheese| hard-boiled egg | lorenzo dressing) the HEART OF ROMAINE CAESAR SALAD (grilled draper valley farms chicken breast | charred lemon dressing | fennel croutons | parmesa) or the HEIRLOOM BEET SALAD (arugula | maytag bleu cheese | pickled onions | grain mustard vinaigrette. Hold the onions please! rio-winery-plane-bottle

It’s going to take us about three hours to drive over the Cascades to the Lake Chelan AVA but every minute on that bus will be worth it! (And fortunately, there are bathrooms on the bus! The last bus I took –from Seattle to WBC10 in Walla Walla–did not!)

Once there, we’ll enjoy a reception at Rio Vista Winery, a riverside winery with stunning gardens and sandy beach. There, we’ll have the option of a

  Seaplane Tour of Lake Chelan!!! Of course I said sign me up!! Continue reading

Wine Predator: 50,000 views!

don&sonspapers2013

Between preparing for my doctoral classes in ecopsychology and grading my students’ finals, I just had to go into hiding the past two weeks which meant while I participated in a few twitter tastings, I didn’t get any blogging done on this site and very little on my other sites (including Art Predator, Compassionate Rebel, Whisper Down The Write Alley). And yes. pictured with the Don and Sons Pinot Noir vertical from last Thursday’s twitter tasting are just a portion of the research papers and finals I was reading in order to get my grades in!

Even though I am still not completely done with my grading (and there’s another twitter tasting tonight!), today I was doing a little blogging on Art Predator and ended up checking my stats over here to discover  that about midnight last night, my blog hit 50,000 page views! Which, for a wine blog like mine, is pretty good! (In contrast, my Art Predator blog, which I started in November 2007,  is about to hit 500,000 page views and Compassionate Rebel which was born January 2010 is almost 10,000.) Continue reading

Wine Predator Wins Wine Blogger Scholarship!

WBC13I’m very excited to announce that I was chosen by the Wine Bloggers Scholarship Committee to attend the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, British Columbia!

This will be my sixth Wine Bloggers Conference: I’ve been to three states so far–California in 2008 and 2009, Walla Walla WA in 2010, and Portland in 2012 and soon to be three countries–US, Portugal (as a guest of Enoforum Wines in 2009), plus Canada in 2013! 

Thank you to all the wonderful donors who made my scholarship possible! Especially Tom Wark of Fermentation who matched $500 of the donations and Amy Anderson Gross the Vine Sleuth who matched his match plus $1! Continue reading

Wine Predator’s WBC12 Ignite!Wine & Conscious Wine’s Portland Pairings

So, after hearing about my being on Marcy Gordon’s 2013 list of important wine bloggers and Michael Wangbickler’s 2012 list and Jo Diaz’s list in 2011

you want to know how I achieved my success as a wine blogger?

Today’s your lucky day!IgniteWineAlleyWbc12

Jeff Weissler aka  http://consciouswine.com recorded my 5-minute IGNITE!wine session at the 2012 Wine Blogger’s Conference in Portland:

“The Ten Commandments of Wine Blogging”

What’s an Ignite? For this style of presentation, we each have five minutes to present a story using 20 slides; each slide changes automatically every 15 seconds. Like TEDX, people are organizing Ignite! presentations all over the world; this is the second year of Ignite at the WBC. Continue reading

#PinotSmackdown: How To Taste Pinot Noir according to Robin Pfeiffer

What follows last week’s #CabernetDay? #PinotSmackdown Thursday Sept. 6, 2012! According to organizer Ed Thralls,

#PinotSmackdown is an all-day global celebration of the world’s most expressive wine grape combined with a knock-down, drag-out cage fight between YOUR FAVORITE Pinot-producing regions! All you need to participate is wine and Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagr.am or your favorite social channel.  Just be sure to use the #PinotSmackdown hashtag!Who makes the best Pinot you’ve ever tasted?  To vote via your tweets, posts, pins, or instagr.am snapshots simply add another 2-character hashtag after #PinotSmackdown and we’ll count the votes so that region gets bragging rights for the year! Voting region hashtags:

  • #OR – Oregon
  • #CA – California
  • #WA – Washington
  • #NY – New York
  • #46 – U.S. The “Other 46″
  • #FR – France
  • #IT – Italy
  • #DE – Germany (Deutschland)
  • #EU – Europe, beyond France, Germany, Italy
  • #CN – Canada
  • #NZ – New Zealand
  • #CH – Chile
  • #AR – Argentina
  • #AU – Australia
  • #SA – South Africa
  • #WD – World, as in none previously listed

For example, if you are drinking a Pinot from a region in California, simply tag the end of your tweets/posts with:      #PinotSmackdown #CA

FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE

This year for the Pinot Noir Smackdown, I’m betting many post-WBC bloggers are rooting for and writing about Oregon Pinot Noir aka #PinotSmackdown #OR. I know that the most memorable pinot noirs for me right now are from my trip last August.

Like many of the 450 attendees to the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, I joined a pre-excursion trip which included a late afternoon drive to the massive and beautiful King Estates for a scrumptious dinner (deserving of its own blog post) followed by an early morning jaunt from our hotel in Eugene to the Pfeiffer Winery in the southern Willamette Valley and in the northwestern part of Lane County.

It took us about 30 minutes to drive the scenic country roads, passing by alpaca farms, hay farms, forest and finally grape vines to arrive at Pfeiffer where we were greeted by Robin and Danuta Pfeiffer, an enthusiastic, energetic, boisterous and attractive couple.

At one time, Danuta was the co-host of the 700 Club. When Pat Robertson ran for President, she started over and came to Oregon to write a book and be on Air America.  Eighteen years ago, she placed an ad describing herself– and looking for a man who could spell. Robin responded with an invitation to go sailing.

On that first date, Robin Pfieffer brought an unlabeled red wine saying, “It’s a little something we make–pinot noir.”

“What’s so hot about pinot noir?” Danuta asked. Continue reading

2012 Wine Bloggers Conference in PDX: Wine Predator to Ignite!

It’s almost that time again–time for the annual Wine Bloggers Conference!

This year we’re meeting in Portland –close to the Willamette Valley home of Oregon’s justly famous pinot noir and pinot gris! I barely scratched the surface with my trip there last July– highlighted by my visit on my last night to Coleman Vineyard south and west of McMinnville (Gotta love Coleman’s Facebook about page which says: Think globally. Eat locally. Dress casually.) More on Coleman soon!

I’ve made the pilgrimage to the Wine Bloggers Conference a regular part of my wine, writing, and blogging education: I attended the inaugural conference in 2008 as well as 2009 in Sonoma, followed by 2010 in Walla Walla. I also attended the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lisbon as a guest of Enoforum Wine.

I keep going back to the Wine Blogger Conferences because I learn so much about writing and wine–two of my favorite activities combined into one!! It’s amazing to try so many wines from so many regions in such a short time. And over the years I’ve made some wonderful friends as well as connections in the business.

This year in Portland, over 350 consumer and industry wine bloggers will gather on Thursday August 16 for a welcome by Oregon Wine Board. Highlights include speed tastings, a keynotes by Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm and Sideways novelist Rex Pickett, plus many sessions on topics related to wine and writing including IgniteWine! where I will be presenting on “Sex, Wine and the Semi-Colon.” I’m currently debating whether I should include real-life examples of typos or mechanical errors that I come across in wine blogs–but I know that will open mine up to criticism and I am sure there are a few mistakes around here too! What do you think? Is it a good idea or not?

For an example of a great IgniteWine presentation, check out the video above!

In the meantime, please subscribe (in the upper right hand corner) so you don’t miss a single drop!

Pretty in Pink–Salmon & Pinot Noir: Father’s Day for Our Super Heroes

Since the Alaskan Copper River Salmon we found for Father’s Day was out of our budget at $33 pound, we made do with some fresh King salmon, simply prepared and lightly grilled with lemon, olive oil, pepper, and kosher salt.

And it was lovely, served with asparagus and basmati rice, for my husband, son and 90 year old father-in-law. The wine I chose was a 2006 Michel-Schlumberger pinot noir “Le Fou” and for dessert, I made a fresh strawberry and blueberry gallette with vanilla quark and vanilla ice cream which we enjoyed with a Penfold’s port. Yummy!

A little more about the wine: at the end of the 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference, I went with a group to Michel-Schlumberger for a vineyard walk and wine tasting.  M-S is located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma, a region most famous for its zinfandels, but M-S specializes in Bordeaux blends as well as a rhone blend and a small amount of pinot noir–a grape that very few people grow in Dry Creek, hence the name of the wine “Le Fou” or “The Fool.” Very generously, M-S gave us a 50% discount on any wine we chose to purchase that day. I invested in a case, most of which is gone, save a bottle or two of The Fool –since I bought 6 that day! (I think it retails around $30 so we got it for $15).

“Le Fou” grows on a steep slope in the most western portion of Dry Creek Valley,  on an eastern facing slope, a spot where the coastal fog creeps in and cools the vines making it possible to grow this “prickly” grape. The alcohol levels are still a bit high for a pinot (14.6% it says on the bottle) but the wine is nicely balanced–it doesn’t come across as too hot.

Be sure to serve this red wine (like all reds)  at cellar temp, not room temp. (That means in the low 60s not the 80s!)

What I like most is how complex it is: this pinot noir is not one of those simple one note strawberry pinots; it has a lot of bramble berries–raspberry, certainly, and blackberry, even a hit of blueberry (ok, not a bramble but a bush…) and some solid fresh cherry. There’s a bit of earth but it’s not very “truffley” –it’s actually more minerally.  The finish is long and rich.  It has nice body but it’s still a pinot, not a pinot passing as a full bodied wine.

What I also like about the Michel-Schlumberger is the care they take of the land: they have sheep, a pond, nesting birds, a “kitchen” garden, bees, and more. While they are not certified anything, they are sustainable by practice and by heart. I am looking forward to visiting the vineyard again this July with my 7 year old son!

I last tasted the 2006 M-S pinot noir in December during the pinot noir tweet up. I brought a bottle to a fundrasier for WEV (Women’s Economic Ventures), a holiday fair where I helped pour wine. This wine was clearly a favorite and I actually had to set the bottle aside to make sure I got some! I also brought this wine to a tasting at Burning Man; there were some amazing wines there and this one held its own. People were pleasantly surprised to discover it was a pinot noir from Dry Creek!

Not surprisingly, the color isn’t as pretty as it was years ago–it’s going a bit coral around the edges–but it is still pretty in pink.

Read on for our 2009 Father’s Day salmon dinner and wine!

Pretty in Pink Father's Day Celebration for Our Super Hero In the Pink Drink for Pre-Dad’s Day Celebration: Here’s MY SuperHero, sneaking in a nap between chapters of Melvin Beederman, Super Hero, one of their favorite chapter books to read and reread. And reread again. We couldn’t recommend Melvin more. The Dad comes highly recommended too. For the Big Monkey, aka Dad to the Small Boy, catching some extra shut-eye is a favorite weekend pastime. So is putting some sockeye salmon on the grill! Thank goodne … Read More

via Wine Predator

Jo Diaz Names Wine Predator As A Wine Blogger Who Matters

Recently Jo Diaz discussed Steve Heimoff’s column “Beyond Blogging” about  Jeff Lefrevre’s column “How to Become a Wine Wonk” in Forbes. (Did you follow that or did it get too incestuous?)

In his column, Jeff recommends several wine sites and wine bloggers worth reading and why. His list of 12 sites includes Joe Roberts aka 1 Wine Dude, Alder Yarrow of Vinography, Tyler Coleman aka Dr. Vino and Steve Heimoff of Steve Heimoff.com, all fine wine bloggers, many I have come to know, some better than others, at the various wine bloggers conferences and through social media.

Steve talks about monetization among other topics and in a comment on Steve’s blog, Jo not only points out that the wine bloggers worth reading and writing about were all males (and I think they’re all white as well), but she was also willing to follow up on this topic on her own blog and to discuss this in public AND call attention to the fact that women in wine end up on the “living” section of the news. (Another commenter left this link with numbers to back up the observation about gender and race).

Jo then listed women wine writers that she thinks have “grace and style, who are blogging and have sites that really matter.” And –here comes the good news–I am featured on her list of these women wine bloggers!

For her article, Jo compiled the photo above. From  left to right, you’ll see Megan Kenney aka Sonadora of the blog Wannabe Wino, Sondra Barrett Ph.D who blogs at SondraBarrett.com, Alana Gentry who blogs at girl with a glass, and finally myself.

Jo’s article includes a nice write up about each of us then goes on to mention Pamela Heiligenthal of Enobytes, Gabriella Opaz of Catavino, Jancis Robinson, Leslie Sbrocco, and Karen McNeil.

So if you’re looking for some weekend reading, you might explore one or more of these sites–written by both men and women. And certainly you should make Jo’s blog part of your regular reading!

Part Two: What Happened to Wine Blogging Wednesday & Ideas on How to Revive It

Yesterday, in Part 1, I was musing about whatever happened to Wine Blogging Wednesday so I took my wondering self to the world wide web to see if anyone else was missing it.

And I found this blog post from August where, voila, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see Wine Blogging Wednesday revived.

Seems Tim Elliot was wondering the same thing and eight or so wine bloggers commented.  Inqvine even suggested a theme: “Fungus Among-us” on botrytis wines.

“I would love to see WBW start up again,” Alleigh of A Glass after Work said in the comments. “It was a wonderful way to really become part of the wine blogging community. It was particularly interesting to see how other wine bloggers approached the same topic or the same wines. Inevitably, I learned something new. Now, as a more comfortable wine blogger, I think WBW would still a great way to meet new bloggers and taste new wines, but it always would be a chance to have further discussions about wine with other bloggers and not just my regular readers.”
So, I propose we get Wine Blogging Wednesday rolling again! I think we need to Continue reading

Thanks to Frei Brothers for Wine Donation to VCCOOL Benefit Concert 8/28 & more!

When I heard about the benefit concert for VCCool Saturday, August 28th at Zanzilla (2750 East Main Street, Ventura), I offered to contact Frei Brothers Winery to see whether they would donate wine for the event.

Why Frei Brothers? Because VCCool works on issues of sustainablity for people and planet, including bicycle safety, local food policy, natural building, sustainable community planning, and so much more. VCCOOL is a global warming or climate change activist group. They promote ways to reduce your carbon footprint and they organize events like the bike rodeo. VCCOOL Members live consciously and purchase food, wine and products that are produced  sustainably. The VCCOOL fund raising concert will offer traditional, old time good time music and room to dance for $20. Members are making treats and there will be non-alcoholic drinks as well as wine pours for $5 each from Frei Brothers.

And so why Frei Brothers? Because at the Wine Blogger’s Conference 2009 in Santa Rosa CA, I tasted the Frei Brothers syrah (yum!) and learned about their pro-environment policies. For a rather large organization (200,000 cases), Frei is trying its best to be good to the land that the brothers have been responsible for for for over 100 years.

Frei Brothers is driven by an “overriding principle to conduct business in a manner that will protect and preserve the environment.” This includes exceeding government regulations and setting aside an acre of land for every one planted with vines to protect the natural environment in which indigenous animals live. This blog post by Rob Bralow includes an interview with Chief Viticulturist Jim Collins discussing specifics. Not to mention that Frei makes great wine; just to make sure, I tested out a glass of the chardonnay last night–nice and balanced, it will be a pleaser today chilled down!

So enjoy Frei Brothers Reserve Wine while mingling with friends new and old, and getting down with the music of: The Jug or Nots (jug band), the Rachel Morris Little Big Band ( original works including “Earth Day” and “White Trash Boy”), and Mule Skynner (classic rock). The VCCool Benefit concert is held in yoga studio of Zan Ferris who graciously donated her gorgeous space for this event. This hidden oasis and the music too, can be found below Smart and Final off Main. Directions

Frei Brothers generously donated four cases (two syrah, one chardonnay, and one cabernet) so there will wine for an upcoming pro-arts and cycling event also Sept 3 at Art City. Thank You Frei Brothers, for doing right by the land and for your donation!

(Look for a response to the wines soon!)

Wine Predator: A Blog Worth Celebrating, says Jo Diaz with photos from Portugal!

When Jo Diaz of Juicy Tales aka Wine Blog Org told me I was runner-up for her contest to win a trip to Portugal with her as the guest of Enoforum Wines, I felt great. Then when winner Sonadora aka Wanna Be Wino had to cancel at the last minute, within days, before I could even catch my breath from jumping around with excitement, I was on a plane to Portugal.

Although we had each attended the North American Wine Bloggers Conferences in Santa Rosa, Jo and I didn’t know each other. But once in Portugal, we came to know each other well. As we explored the castles and countryside, the wineries and the vineyards, she kept catching me and taking photographs of me in the craziest spots taking photographs or the view. She warned me that she was going to do a slide show blog post “Where’s Gwendolyn?” taken after the “Where’s Waldo?” books.

I didn’t know that she was going to feature my blog in her “Wine Blogs Worth Celebrating” and use that opportunity to present a video of her photos of me in Portugal!

Here’s what Jo said:

Gwendolyn Alley, of Wine Predator and Art Predator, was my traveling companion to the European Wine Bloggers Conference and to visit Enoforum Wines in Portugal last fall. We shared nine days of our lives together… strangers in a strange land (only as it relates to the United States). She’s continued to reflect on our experiences. And, I don’t know anyone else who throws his or her entire body into taking photographs the way Gwendolyn does. She’s always writing about her passions of art and wine, and has a unique skill that I always enjoy.

Wow, huh! And I’m in great company: Jo’s list included

Joe (and Amy!) Power from Houston who I met on the WBC or Bust bus last month; they’re great generous people who write Another Wine Blog

Tom Wark of Fermentation who does wine PR

Sonadora (who was supposed to go to Portugal in my stead and instead went in January 2010) of WannabeWino

Wine Journalist Steve Heimoff (who I “debate” in this video from the previous post!)

my pal Ken Payton who writes one of my favorite wine blogs,  Reign of Terroir

Alawine… which produces lists  Top 100 Wine Blogs (one of these days!)

Paul Gregutt, Northwest wine writer

Robert Whitley ~ Wine writer, publisher, and wine competition organizer  Wine Review Online

Laura Ness of My Vine Space, a wine writer from the Santa Cruz Mountains

Stark Silver Creek which covers all things West Coast, including food and wine

See Jo’s original post for all of her comments about why she chose these blogs!!