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Tasting and Twitter
Terry Sullivan

Wine Bloggers Conference 2011One expects to taste wines at wine conferences. The Wine Bloggers Conference didn’t disappoint as hundreds of bloggers and wine trade personnel settled at tables in the main conference room and adjusted their computer screens. At several different wine conferences, tasting is accompanied by tweeting. Twitter has been used as a vehicle to tweet about wines for years now. The format for the wine tastings was practical. People sat at numbered tables with computers, ipads and smart phones ready. Wineries were assigned to a table and poured wine at their assigned table for five minutes. They then rotated to the next table. This was repeated twelve times over the course of an hour.

Even those with experience are challenged to listen to the winemaker or representative pouring the wine, tasting the wine and tweeting about the wine all within five minutes. Five minutes passes by quickly when you are multi-tasking. Having business cards set in a pile can save valuable seconds when exchanging with wineries. Twitter is the ideal format for writing about the wine. Keeping tweets within 140 characters limits what can be written about the wine and thus limits one’s verbage.

Wine Bloggers Conference 2011White and Rosé Wines

Friday’s Taste and Tweet session was devoted to white and rosé wines. Chardonnays, Pinot Gris, Verdejo, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, a rosé made from Pinot Noir and one from Syrah were poured at our table. The predominant varietal grape was Chardonnay poured by seven wineries. Wineries were from Chile, California, Oregon and Virginia.

Stand out whites included the Climber Pouch a non-vintage Chardonnay from Cliff Family Winery in California. It had a straw color and offered some apple and pear aromas and tastes. The crisp finish was dry. This is literally a wine one can drink with a straw. Another stand out was the Blanc de Noir, a sparkling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend from Gloria Ferrar in California. It was a light pink that was crisp and refreshing.

Red Wines

Saturday’s Taste and Tweet session was all about red wines. Eleven red wines were tasted from wineries located in The Republic of Georgia, France, New Zealand, Spain, California and Virginia. Writing tweets were complicated by the keynote address delivered by Eric Asimov just moments before the tasting. Mr. Asimov challenged wine writers to become creative and write about wines in a different style than traditional tasting notes with the traditional wine vocabulary. Taking this challenge to heart, it was decided to write a Haiku for each wine.

Wine Bloggers Conference 2011Twitter limits one to 140 characters. A Haiku limits one to 17 syllables a further reduction from Twitter’s allowance. The first two Haiku were a challenge then one gets into a Haiku groove and they become easier than the traditional tasting notes. An example of some of the Haiku include:

Saperavi red
Republic of Georgia wine
$19 good

Grand Cru Merlot wine
Earthy, tannins, fruity wine
Chateau Edmus wine

Old Vine Zinfandel
Sonoma Russian River
Could drink every day

Not expecting to win any poetry contests, writers can certainly change the style of writing about wine.
Eleven red wines were tasted in the allotted hour. Varieties included Abouriou, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Saperavi, Tempranillo and Zinfandel.

Writers concentrated on their work during the Taste and Tweet sessions. Multi-tasking is required as the conference attendees in a short time span wrote thousands of tweets. The two sessions afforded an opportunity to taste wines from around the world perhaps including some varietal grapes that were new to the writer.



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