We were recently in Washington Wine Country scouting the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference Pre & Post Conference Excursions and we were thoroughly impressed. Considering the distance some of you will be traveling to attend the conference and explore the region, we think adding the Pre & Post Conference Excursions to your itinerary is a very good idea. Even if you are from the area, we assure you both excursions will offer a unique and premier introduction to each AVA. As of today, there are already close to 50 bloggers attending the Pre-Conference Excursion to Yakima Valley and 40 will be enjoying the vineyards and wines of Red Mountain for the Post-Conference Excursion. Incidentally, there are now over 210 registered participants for the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference with space for 300 and we have a little over three months to go.
First, we spent some time with Barbara Glover of Wine Yakima Valley. We met Barb at DuBrul Vineyard where she introduced us to Hugh and Kathy Shiels. Hugh and Kathy are close to this land and they promptly showed us around their beautiful vineyards and shared the history of the valley and its terroir. Afterwards, Barb took us to Prosser’s, Vinters Village where we discussed the Yakima Valley Wines Grand Tasting Event that will take place here on the Pre-Conference Excursion. It was here that we ran into Dick Boushey of Boushey Vineyards. Determining it was time for lunch, we invited Dick to join us and he suggested we meet him at the local brewery for some food and conversation. Dick first started experimenting with grapes here in 1977 and proved to be a wealth of information. Everyone in the valley proved to be well-versed in wine, grape growing, their own history and the terroir. It was a great visit.
After that, we traveled to the Red Mountain AVA and met up with Heather Unwin of Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyards and also of the AVA. Heather’s energy and passion for the region and its wine was apparent from the get-go and immediately she thought it would be a good idea to travel around the AVA to meet a few of the folks we will be visiting on the Post-Conference Excursion. Right away the small size of the Red Mountain AVA becomes very clear but what it lacks in size is made up for by the terroir, climate, grape growers, wine makers, the wine and the view! From the deck of Col Solare with Wendi Warner, the tasting room manager, we determined that we needed to get out and walk through these scenic vineyards across this “shining hill”. From Col Solare to Hedges Family Estate, the vineyard walk traverses Red Mountain itself. Following the walk we sat down with Jim Holmes who first bought 80 acres of desert on Red Mountain in 1972 and planted grapes there three years later; winemaker and owner of Terra Blanca, Keith Pilgrim; and Heather over a very nice glass or two of Keith’s signature blend, the 2005 ONYX. Here we discussed the region, the wine, the people and the Post-Conference Excursion. We determined the right itinerary and timing and decided that we absolutely had to offer bloggers the opportunity to experience the sunset from the deck of the Terra Blanca Winery after the Post-Conference dinner.
For precise details on both the Pre & Post Wine Bloggers Conference Excursions click PRE & POST on the site. If you have already registered for the conference but have not registered for the Pre or Post, you can simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you are interested in doing. If you haven’t registered for the Wine Bloggers Conference yet and want to do so and add on either or both excursions you can do so when you register by clicking on REGISTER. Space is limited on both the Pre & Post Conference excursion, as well as the conference itself, so if you are interested in making this happen, sooner is better than later. Cheers!