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Catavino Leaves San Francisco and Heads to New York: The Last Leg of our American Tour

Twisted Oak Winery / Wine Bloggers Conference 2009Sitting in the San Francisco airport, I’m feeling a warm, content feeling inside my belly, similar to the one I get when sitting next to a roaring fire as the rain pelts the windows outside, or when I put a project to bed just as the morning light pools through my office window. This trip, despite the initial upset in travel plans, has become a warmhearted adventure filled with perfect coincidences and incredible fortune. Just when we feared we wouldn’t find a ride, a room or an individual, help always appeared. In San Francisco, when we lost our ride to Twisted Oak winery, Oscar Quevedo pulls up to the airport in his flaming golden orange rental car with two empty seats and a desire to hunt out a rubber chicken in Calavaras County. In Santa Rosa, with 5 bottles of wine needing to be given away not 20 minutes before we were scheduled to leave the hotel, Shana Ray streams through the electric doors with a brilliant smile and a promise to share notes on the Lopez de Heredia wines. And at that very same moment, having spent have the morning looking for a ride to Napa in order to meet with Paul Mabray of Vintank, the Prince of Wine (later dubbed the Prince of Travel, the Prince of Kindness and the Prince of Patience) parks his killer BMW in front of the hotel with Napa Valley programmed in his GPS. One might attribute this great fortune to our belief that if you keep yourself open and available, the universe will always reciprocate, but we’re currently of the opinion that wine bloggers are fitted with an internal microchip that draws them to any wine blogger within a 100 mile radius. But whatever the reason, this trip has been not only memorable, but exciting and invigorating.

Take the Portuguese wine tasting hosted by Viniportugal last Saturday night at the Wine Bloggers Conference in the Flamingo Hotel. Having had a long and experiential day in the Napa Valley, exploring vineyards throughout the area, we were honestly a bit apprehensive that anyone would show up at the tasting, as the tasting didn’t start until 9pm. And let’s be honest, a tasting at 9pm is equivalent to a tasting held at 1am Spanish time – a clearly difficult proposal to convince someone who has just spent the day consuming copious amounts of wine. However, to our great fortune, the room was not only packed with people, but buzzing with excitement over the incredible quality and value of the wines highlighted.

When asked, “What do you think of the wines, or was there one you particularly liked?” I generally received, “Which one didn’t I enjoy?! These wines actually taste of their terroir!” or “Who do I have to bribe to get myself a bottle of this wine? I know it’s not available in X-location, so what will it take for me to get my hands on this?”

Having spent the last five years trying to convince the world that Portuguese wines are not only diverse, but unique, expressive, and absolutely delicious, I can’t even begin to convey to you how invigorating it is to hear your own people (Americans) giving incredible accolades to wines so near and dear to your heart. And as Ryan and I don’t have children, we have adopted these wines as one of our own. We live them, breathe them, adore them and want nothing more than for others to explore them with us. We don’t expect or require you to like every one – not saying that’s not an added bonus – but we do hope that you’ll at least take the time to crack open a bottle and enjoy the ride. Fortunately, of the approximately 70+ bloggers that did flow in and out of the event, each shared their shock and joy in discovering wines they barely knew existed.

I’d also like to report that we may have a half dozen to a dozen American bloggers heading west this fall to the European Wine Bloggers Conference! Fingers crossed that our perpetual boasting of the food and wine culture enticed them enough to make the leap over the big pond!

Sleep is calling my name, and I do want to give you more information on our thoughts regarding the Wine Bloggers Conference, but it will have to wait until later. Forgive me, but between turbulence and the fact that the woman in the seat next to me keeps elbowing me in the gut, it’s time for me to get some some shut eye.

Cheers,

Gabriella and Ryan Opaz

We will get some more relevant photos uploaded in the near future! We promise. But our schedules have not permitted more than a few posts.

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  • Andrea Smith

    Hey Guys!
    It’s so great to hear about the positive turnout and feedback at the Portuguese wine tasting in Santa Rosa (you know I think I actually stayed at the Flamingo as well during my CIA CA wine seminar!), as you know I feel the same way about these wines and even though I couldn’t be there for it, I get that same invigorating feeling hearing about it :)
    Major kudos to Oscar for pulling through to give you guys a ride, of all people to come help, the foreign tourist saves the day! ;) Have a safe trip back, sorry you got the obnoxious lady next to you, know that feeling too!

    Cheers,
    Andrea

  • http://www.shanaray.com Shana Ray

    Thank you so much for the wine. I am glad I was able to catch you both right before your departure. I know look forward to trying and blogging about the wines and of course, seeing you both again.

    Have a safe flight back.

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  • http://www.uncorkedventures.com Wine Club Guy

    Thanks for the update on Portuguese wine, it is generally under appreciated everywhere it seems.

    Have a good trip!

  • W. Griffith

    Hi

    We are very intersted to host a Portugese wine tasting at our Club in San Franciso. Have not had luck contacting ViniPortugal. Perhaps you could email me? I would love to speak with you.

    Thank you!