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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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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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I’ll be your Zin-ner in secret

First of all, Carly Slay Jepsen's Emotion: Side B. Better than the original album? Is this reference still relevant? How long will it take my roommate to notice I'm drinking all of his gin? Should I pair these wines with a pathetic recollection of that time I actually met Carly Rae Jepsen at a Marianas Trench concert while interning for their record company? These are the questions I want answered vaguely by fortune cookies and clairvoyant wine pairings. (Also, thanks to this post, the beginning of Run Away With Me starts playing every time I sip Zinfandel, which...

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Getting Harney in Lodi

After the magic that was Acquiesce (everything's magic after ingesting wine but the wines were good), our pre-excursion group meandered to the Lizzy James vineyard, sipped some Zin, and then went to Harney Lane winery. I remember how distracted I get in vineyards, simultaneously trying to soak in all the personal stories and vineyard information while trying to find refuge for my naked round head. Sunscreen's a no-no since it fucks with everyone's nasal cavity, and so is eucalypt-scented shaving cream, where in specific cases I've made people sniff my fresh head at tastings just to make sure I've done no sin. I attempted to kneel behind someone's outrageously large clown hat. My "I'm actually here!" montage lasted longer during my...

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It must have been clove, but it’s over now: Speed Wine Tasting at WBC16

I used to love the hectic clusterfuck of the two Wine Bloggers Conference speed tasting events, each involving twenty or so different tables and winery principals that rotate tables every five minutes for a total of ten sessions. Every micro-meeting involves at least a pour of a wine followed by a spiel, while we each have to: absorb as much information as we can; taste and take notes; desperately yell out questions as if the internet doesn't exist; take blurry bottle shots; and perhaps come up with a witty tweet. I've mostly given up on giving my 110% on the whole shebang, but hey: I tried. Newcomers to the conference were all "well, this isn't so bad!" I side-eyed in tacit protest but actually mostly agreed. I'm...

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Josh tastes 118 wines at Top Drop

If there was one unforgettable takeaway uttered by a wine god during this year's Wine Bloggers Conference, it was the keynote speaker Karen MacNeil (author of the Wine Bible) who opined - and I'm paraphrasing, here - that people should pay more attention to tasting the wines during such events. Of course, I was thrilled, because that gave me even more validation to ignore people. Ha! Key advice when the militant goal is to taste every wine during a well-curated tasting, but it's harder than it sounds because I guess I like to wave and flail at people. A regretful ode to the few tables I did not get to visit: Anthonij Rupert, Badia a Coltibuono, Elio Altare, Giusti, Latta, Montenidoli, Orofino, Scribe, Spottswoode Estate,...

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