…a very responsible blog…catavino.net…[it's] refreshing to see such professionalism.
Robert M. Parker Jr.

Elation and Post EWBC 2008 Depression

Sitting in front of the computer preparing to sum up my experience at the European Wine Blogger Conference, I literally feel speechless. Are there words for my emotions, my feeling of warmth and excitement for what’s occurred, along with a touch of sadness and depression I’ve been feeling now that the conference is over? It’s like using an instant camera with the intention of capturing the breadth and beauty of the Grand Canyon. Unless you were there, feeling the hot canyon winds come across the 1,218,375 acres that dip down an average of 4,000 feet deep; smell the rich evergreen and sandalwood aromas in the air; or touch the blazing hot iron soils which kick up fine, red dust under your feet, pictures nor words can never fully describe your experience.

On one hand, I feel a warmth in my heart that has lasted for four days, and I expect it will last well into the future. To see 40+ people from all over the world come together and bond in literally, moments flat, was something we wish would happen among nations everyday. From Friday to Sunday, voices were always raised, bubbling with curiosity and excitement; because how often do you get to speak with someone who blogs in another language as to their perceptions, desires, hopes and fears about wine blogging? For me, not often enough. Instead, I am typically caught in a whirlpool of voices from my own culture, an incestuous conversation that circles around the same view point over and over again. But to have so many different ideas as to what wine blogging is, what we need to do to better our profession, how we can solve our problems, and where we can find solutions was beyond a breath of fresh air, was astonishing! And although we never came to any solid conclusions, we did solidify trust among us, breaking down both cultural and language barriers that hinder our communication to form a cohesive and passionate group willing to continue the conversation well into the future.

EWBC2008-22Just to give you an idea of the depth of conversation we were able to share, I had a great discussion during dinner on Saturday night with David Cray from Carleton University in Canada on how he can blog about his research on the structure and organization of wine bloggers, allowing us to see step-by-step what has worked and what hasn’t worked in his research. All six wine producers from Portugal, France, Germany and Italy chatted about how they are interested in both tasting and blogging about each others wines to emphasis the fact that even wineries drink other peoples wines. With Justine Keeling, a winery owner out of Tuscany, spoke of her genuine desire to have wineries speak honestly and openly about the daily experiences in the vineyards, rather than promoting only the positive events. Giampiero Nadali offered us some wonderful and innovative ideas on using hedonistic, rather than traditional, tasting notes. And Thomas Lippert offered up his insight on how wine bloggers can increase their credibility by separating themselves from spam and wine aggregators. Granted, this is only a tiny percent of the conversations that were dissected and debated, but it at least gives you a general notion of how receptive many people were in sharing their thoughts. We’ll be going into more detail in the coming days regarding many of these topics.

Oddly, despite these incredible feelings regarding the conference, I am also going through post conference depression (PCD). When I went to drop off our gigantic van filled to the hilt in leftover wine (no complaints, mind you), I literally broke down in tears in front of the Hertz attendant. Among a cloud of exhaustion and excitement, I felt an enormous sense of loss. I wanted my 40+  new friends back. I wanted to have the ability to call someone up and go out for a drink. I missed their kindness, their positive attitudes and the hours upon hours of belly aches I had from laughing nonstop. Look, I’m tearing up again! :-)

I’ll stop before I get my cast wet, but please know that we couldn’t have done this without your belief in us and your willingness to come hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to La Rioja.

Saludos,

Gabriella Opaz

Here are a few pics from Ryan’s camera of what happened, enjoy!

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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  • Robert

    oh, now see here! You're going to make me cry too :( so, do you think we could organise another one for … next weekend? I'm free

  • Andre Ribeirinho

    Wet keyboard in Portugal too… ;(

  • Oscar_Quevedo

    Congratulations Team!!! You had done a wonderful conference!!! Hope to see you all soon!

  • Alastair

    I'm only crying tears of laughter at Ryan's attempt to pronounce the word "arse". Good work guys – great gig. Can't wait to see you all again.

  • Dylan

    That was a good comparison drawn from the Grand Canyon; it's the experience itself, not the re-telling, which touches the heart. Unfortunately, that just puts a damper on my day seeing as I couldn't experience this event. I can take comfort in that fact that people who's hearts were touched will do their best to re-tell the experience. You will do your best to re-tell it, right? Please?

  • gianpaolo

    Cara Gabriella, we feel the same, we want you back, all of you. So, come and stay with us at the winery when you want, not all 40 at the same time, but I'd like to have you here. It's been fantastic, we immediately felt comfortable and at home with everyone of you. Is it the wine? Ciao from Gianpaolo and Justine (we are serious about it: come to Tuscany!)

  • Cristina

    There are too many things I would like to say but I suppose I have to start with a simple but emphatic thank you. Thanks for a perfect and incredible weekend… It was really nice meeting you all and I hope we keep the contact. We are waiting for you in Madrid (and in Galicia also!!) Cris

  • Lizzy

    Cara Gabriella, thank you for your friendship! You know, it's 11:29 pm, and I'm writing about EWBC from this morning! What a hard work!! Too much things, emotion, ideas…I really don't know how I can explane all this in few pages. And, don't forget it, we wait for you in Italy, soon!! As soon as possible!!

  • Tom Perry

    Dear friends, As a blogger-to-be, I have to say that the conference was an incredibly valuable experience for me. It answered a lot of questions and suggested others that hadn't occurred to me. I'm also grateful for having met so many enthusiastic prople for whom blogging is not only a passion but enjoyable, too. I can hardly wait to get my blog up and running. It was very refreshing to see so much sharing of information. The wine business (at least in Rioja) is so secretive – no one is willing to share anything out of fear that an idea will be copied. Your sharing reminds me of how open Spain's top chefs are-it's not about competition but improving everyone's lot by being open. My most heartfelt thanks to Ryan, Gabriella and Rob for their superb organization and to you fellow attendees for your advice and encouragement. Un abrazo, Tom

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  • David Cray

    The EWBC was a great introduction for me to the world of wineblogging and to the wonderful people who inhabit that particular part of the blogosphere. As I mentioned Saturday night, if I had known this research was going to be so much fun, I would have begun years ago. We have already had a few of the EWBC members comment on our blog site (wineblogresearch.blogspot,com) and hope more will join the conversation about why people blog, what makes a good blog, etc. I will blogging there as well telling people how our research is progressing. I don't know if I'll make it to the American wineblogging conference (I really do have to teach some times) but you can already sign me up for the next EWBC.

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