Wow. The folks at Wine Yakima Valley did an amazing job entertaining 50 or so bloggers yesterday as part of the Pre-Conference Excursion. I drew the long straw and the easy assignment of having to attend the excursion as the WBC coordinator, so was able to enjoy this with the other participants.
My role was pretty dang easy, in large part because Barb Glover and her board on the Wine Yakima Valley association did such an incredible job with the day’s organization. Everything ran on time, the bus was excellent, the agenda was full but not too packed, and we ultimately returned to Walla Walla as bunch of happy campers.
We started off at a lunch and vineyard walk at DuBrul Vineyards and Côte Bonneville wines, one of the class acts of the local wine grape farming world. I had met owners Hugh and Kathy Shiels once before, no-nonsense business owners who provided us with a wonderful 2009 Côte Bonneville Chardonnay to start the day.
At lunch, it was really nice that about 10 local vintners and grape growers were in attendance, making it very easy to have a real conversation with someone who knew all about local conditions. I had good conversations with brothers Pat and Matt Rawn, of Two Mountain Winery (their very reasonable $13 rosé was excellent), Dick Boushey of Boushey Vineyard (whom I had met when I first came out to help set up the day’s events), and Joe Hattrup from Elephant Mountain Vineyards.
Lunch was provided by Bon Vino’s Bistro and Bakery, which is in the tiny town of Sunnyside and is a good example of how the local Yakima Valley area has grown and matured with the wine industry. It was an incredible meal set up under a tent in the middle of the vineyard!
We then traveled on to a place called Vintner’s Village in the small town of Prosser. This is a cluster of 12 tasting rooms located just off I-82 in the Yakima Valley, an excellent forward-thinking concept that draws visitors off the highway and does a lot to sell the local wines. We tried wines from a large number of the participating wineries.
I can tell you that in discussions with the attending bloggers, everyone was very impressed with the Yakima Valley wines and people. Yakima Valley, hats off to you for creating a fantastic start to the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference!
– Allan from Zephyr Adventures, WBC10 co-organizer