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Swiping left and right on flavour profiles, 2017 edition

Fourth year at the Wine Bloggers Conference and I still haven't tapped out of the speed blogging portion, you guys! The chaos was unbeknownst to me during my first year in 2014 and I was confused why people chose to skip the session and eat fries at the neighbouring restaurant instead. The rules to this WBC mainstay are simple: the wine representative has five minutes to pour you wine and talk about it. At the same time - and if you're playing the game to its fullest - one takes notes, snaps photos, and maybe thinks of something witty about the wine to tweet in that moment. There are ten rounds in total. Speed dating! If this is Tinder for wines, is there a Grindr for wines? Is...

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Santa Barbara, Santa Claus, and the CWAS Exam

I feel like I've gone full circle: the first vineyard I've ever been to was in Santa Barbara. Here I am with the last class of the California Wine Appellation Specialist program studying the same sub-region, along with the weird loose ends like wines from Los Angeles county, whose appellations all seem to have "Malibu" tacked somewhere in their place names. It's odd that I consider the end of a course dramatic enough to something that completes a full circle, but I said it once and I'll say it again: school is bae. Already looking into more courses, you guys. God damn, tuition. What the fuck is a savings account? If the gayest wines are rosés and Champagnes, it follows that I should probably sign...

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Gay wine culture: the uncontrollable urge to pair Arroyo Grande wines with Ariana Grande

The stroke of December leads to the dawn of pregnant holiday plans which I've decided to not spend in Vancouver for the first time. Christmas, the first of my big two, has passed - and I planned for the Eve to be a quiet one, and it was legitimately fantastic. Why don't I roast vegetables more often, while listening to Ariana Grande's Christmas music, and then watch episodes of Grand Hotel while sipping Crémant? I spent the 25th at a friend's, a polar opposite yang to the previous night's yin. Ever watch someone combine your Premier Cru Champagne with Korbel, but then have your cringe melt into a shrug because it's Christmas? Yeah. And then the other holiday evenings. Y'all. One night involved all of attending the...

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Putting the Rain in Monterey’s Thermal Rainbow

It's a partial shame that I was in the USA for Canadian Thanksgiving and in Canada for American Thanksgiving. I didn't get my fill of holiday food - and I'm not headed back to Canada for the big holiday extravaganza (much to the discontent of my colleagues and family) - so I'll have to make do, and I'm not mad at that. Huzzah! Maybe my mind will change (it won't), but nothing sounds better than eating take-out, drinking an entire bottle of Champagne, and binge-watching feel-good movies. But yes, Canada: I'm perpetually unafraid of rocking my combination of short overalls and thick plaid jacket, but I was greeted with all of Vancouver's rain: I realized my mistake during my ride-share to the San Francisco airport....

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Bay/Bae Wines for Bay/Bae Moments

This city is doing things to me. I willingly and happily went to a networking event, you guys! I mean, it was themed which made it as enticing as free booze at straight equivalents of such events: it was hosted at Oasis by Out in Tech, a company which focusses on LGBTQ+ folks in the tech world. I've attended the venue before, in the form of drag shows and fuzzy evenings, but upon a night of networking, it got packed real quickly, the drink lines as straight as the room's sexualities. I'm exclaiming my excitement for a queer tech networking event, yet weeks later I'm stoked about a regular one. 20-year-old me is grimacing at 25-year-old me. Also, you know you've reached peak queer tech when...

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On Sonoma and my 4th Wine Bloggers Conference

I vigorously decided not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference this year (in Santa Rosa) until the very last minute. Why not go? I live in San Francisco, and the theme for the previous Tuesday's California Wine Appellation Specialist class was, well, Sonoma. A sign. Even though I missed all the early bird discounts, I decided that I would be absolutely insane not to attend. After some nudges from fellow wine attendees and comforting caresses to my bank account, I clutched the part of my chest that encased my liver and headed up. I can't believe it's already been my fourth year! I still remember my first, which brought me to the relatively nearby Santa Barbara region after I earned a scholarship to attend. What a blast,...

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Napa’s 2017

Napa. Its seemingly daunting wine is made up of relatively simply shaped sub-regions. The clean-cut sixteen seem well-fit into a geographical puzzle compared to the overlapping Russian nesting doll appellations of every other region in California, and I am 100% here for that. I finally ended last week's mental tug-of-war on whether or not to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in neighbouring Santa Rosa, and I've decided to go but with as much cost-cutting as possible. Though it was super fun, one of the most interesting sessions was the discussion on the recent wine country fires: the panel included George Rose, photographer; Patsy McGaughy, of Napa Valley Vintners; and Pierre Bierbent, winemaker of Signorello Estates. The descriptions and statistics of the damage were heartbreaking, including 75,000 total acres burned and 652 homes...

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Mendocino’s medicine-o

What terrible timing it was for the recent fires in California to start wreaking havoc around the same time as I started the California Wine Appellation Specialist course. It's so unfortunate that a recent masterclass helped surge personal interest in a wine region that went relatively ignored during my WSET diploma studies, only for the terrible news to ensue. I hope that by learning more about the region I'm doing a part to support them - and thusly I may also retract my decision to not attend this year's Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa? Sigh. We'll see. Testing my just-in-time schedule, I rushed out of the door from work to make it to class, being the last of the group that was on time,...

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“Backroads of California”

I can't believe I even made it to this masterclass, because tickets to these GuildSomm events usually sell out quicker than it takes today's somm to name their favourite natural wine producer. Then again, I guess it's a California-themed one held in, well, California, so perhaps everyone else in this city is just more familiar with these tipples. I've lived here for around a year, so a masterclass titled "Backroads of California" implies that the theme is the vinous road less travelled - but considering this state was a quasi-neglected region during my WSET diploma studies, you could imagine how badly this information stuck. That being said, our presenter, Kelli White - author of Napa Valley Then & Now - was a fantastic guide who eventually tipped the scale in my mind...

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Aesop’s wines aren’t fables

I just asked an artist whether or not deadlines interfered with his creative process. His response was that it did a little, but the only thing I can confirm is that I suck at giving myself writing deadlines, and that the thought of deadlines often smothers any inkling of inspiration. Also: I'm not an artist. A stroke of lucky meetings led me to samples of Aesop, whose wines are so limited that the locales in which it's offered can be counted on one jittery hand. One half of Aesop is a designer, and the other half is a winemaker. It's odd how cleanly this translates to the wines, whose impressions of creativity can be both experienced by both the eye and the tongue. Are they called...

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