Spit or Die

Remnants of White Wine from Speed Blogging

This past weekend I learned to spit. Spitting is a necessity, needless to say, if you are going to actually taste upwards of 200 wines or so within a three day period of time and live to tell the story.

The Wine Bloggers Conference 2010 was held last week in Walla Walla, Washington. Three days of wine tasting, seminars, keynote speakers (like Steve Heimhoff and Lettie Teague), being wined and dined by wineries, a food and wine pairing seminar by Jeffrey Saad, networking, very good food and the infamous speed blogging events.
Portrait Cellars Lovely Label

Speed blogging is much like speed dating, only instead of five intriguing or torturous minutes with a prospective date, you spend it with a winemaker and one of his or her wines. Five whole minutes for a winemaker to offer information, answer your questions, and for you to taste and form an opinion about the wine and to send your impressions into the ether via Twitter. This process is repeated every five minutes for an hour, putting you front and center with a total of 12 wines, and that's only the whites. The reds come tomorrow. Each taster has his or her own spit cup along with the larger spit buckets on each table, and using them is the only way to gain a true impression of the wine and find a vocabulary to describe it, which was in part my motivation for attending the conference.
Lots of food and wine pairing opportunities occurred during the conference. I've never seen so much Riedel stemware in one place in all my life, and was glad that I wasn't working the dish room during this event.
Really nice photo opportunities were everywhere the eye could see.It was announced that the Wine Bloggers Conference 2011 will be held next July in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was last there in 2008 and am curious to see what is reported to be exponential growth of the industry there and how their wines are coming along. With Virginia's blossoming wine industry, it should be a very good time, and will allow for our east-coast blogging buddies to more easily join us. There are a few I'm hoping to meet, like Jason and Margot at Ancient Fire.
Wines from Jefferson Winery in Charlottesville

One of the promised events at the next conference is an exclusive event at Monticello. I've already registered, have you?


  1. Spit or Die. I love the title! My parents own and operate their own vineyards/winery and they help judge an amateur wine festival every year. They love to tell stories of judges who are totally tanked by the end of the festival. Spitting is absolutely necessary! Only drink the good ones! :)

  2. I'm a wine lover but now very little about American wines. I'm new to your blog. Can't wait to learn. (By the way, I'm sooo jealous that you have fresh farm meats, produce and even local wines around you. Need to leave the city!)

  3. Wow, that is quite a marathon. I tasted probably 50 wines and beers in a week last month, and I drank them all. I better get ready.

    Yeah for the east coast. Definitely will be looking to be there.

    What a wonderful shout out for Ancient Fire. Thank you so much. Meeting fellow bloggers with a wine and food sensibility continues to be very rewarding.

    Drink on!


  4. Jason, I thought of you several times while there, and do look forward to meeting. There was so much to take in and apply.

    Constant Hunger... Don't forget about all the terrific opportunities you have in the city. I miss ready access to an Italian deli, a corner breakfast bistro, an Indian market, etc., and I never "run to the store" for a missing ingredient. It's learning to live with the yin/yan of wherever we are planted, yes??

    Jodie, make no mistake: There were several wines that I was more than happy to imbibe. A 2005 Chateau Pape Clement Semillon blew me into tomorrow. There was no way I was spitting that!!!

  5. This title was intriguing, and you are actually not kidding! If you didn't spit it out you would be drunk within 15 minutes I guess! Lol, that would make for interesting twitter updates wouldnt it? :)

  6. This all sounds a little overwhelming, but like a great time! I'm not sure I could ever really get used to the idea of spitting out wine!

  7. Great title and great fun! Much prefer speed-spitting to speed-dating!

  8. What a great time I would have had, glad to read about it at least!

  9. I refused to spit at Aspen Food and WIne and it was probably one of the times when spitting was appropriate. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I'm a food blogger, not wine, but i sure would love to go to Virginia next year. Sounds like a blast. We have one winery here in Nashville and it has a country western them. It's in a pretty setting, but somehow doesn't quite satisfy.

  11. Great post... A major wine lover, but no expert. I look to Jason and Margot myself for such tips.
    Love the title here, and the event sounds fantastic:)

  12. This conference sounds like a lot of fun. I'm going to look into next year's...so much to learn and enjoy about wine. =)

  13. Wow! How do you handle taking notes of everything you've tried? It's always hard for me to juggle my camera, the food or wine glass, and my notepad! It looks like fun.

  14. this looks like so much fun! I wish I could have been there!


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