This past weekend I made my annual springtime pilgrimage to Niagara for Cuvée en Route, a passport style event with about 30 participating wineries each offering a tasting menu. This year I made the trip with my friend Andrew – a fellow wino, so it wasn’t very difficult to twist his arm and get him to join me.
I’m always interested in the chance to take a drive and experience wines in the place they’re made. There’s something special about tasting a wine while looking at the vines that gave it life.
Except for one stop this year’s Cuvée adventure consisted of wineries I’d never been to before. I apologize in advance if I’m a broken record about all the newness! My game plan going in was to use this year’s Cuvée as an excuse to finally get to some places I’ve been meaning to go for years.
It’s that time of year again – Cuvée en Route is back! It’s one of the many times each year that I get in the car and make a little pilgrimage to the region in my own backyard. It’s also a welcome way to further my wine knowledge and keep my palate up to snuff.
What is Cuvée en Route?
Let’s review. Created by the good folks at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Cuvée en Route is an annual showcase of the fantastic wines this region has to offer. On March 23, 24 and 25 wineries throughout the region will create tasting menus (usually 3-4 wines) for passport holders, often share wines you can’t get at a normal tasting. Case in point – my first Cuvée year I had wines from as long ago as 1998! Cuvée is a great opportunity to taste things you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere (or any time) else.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I went to the Wine Bloggers Conference last November in Santa Rosa, CA. It was an amazing experience! I tasted so much great wine, learned a lot, and met wonderful people who, like me, love to get nerdy when it comes to wine.
I haven’t gone into much detail about it, but I was able to go because of the a scholarship fund that the WBC folks run. I’m so grateful to them for donating and helping me have this experience!
Let’s get to know my wonderful sponsors, shall we?
It’s now been about a month since I went to the wine bloggers conference and I’m still slowly digesting it. I love when this happens, when an experience touches you so intensely and immensely that it takes time to think and feel through all you experienced. It’s the mark of a great conference, really, and something I’m really happy to have experienced this fall.
Now that I’ve had some time to think, there are a few things I wanted to share about my experience at the conference.
There were two sessions – one for whites and another for reds – and in each session winemakers and wine reps toured around to different tables of bloggers and writers pouring their wine and talking about it. The part where I got to taste new wines and learn something interesting about the maker or the wine or the brand spoke to my little wine-nerd heart.
The intense part? We only have five minutes per wine to taste, listen, make notes and, in my case, send out a tweet. Some bloggers took notes to create content later but I wanted to show some immediate appreciate for these wines and their makers. Plus I was excited by the challenge to come up with quality content that quickly.
Early Monday morning I arrived back in Toronto after four days in Sonoma, California at the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference. Exhausted from both the red eye I’d just taken and the few days that preceded it, I couldn’t wait to get home and sleep. I napped for four hours and when I woke up my head was full of memories and new information. It’s going to take me a while to process everything that happened.
In an effort to begin to do just that I thought I’d share with you some thoughts and impressions of my first time at the Wine Bloggers Conference.
(Before I delve in I want to thank the folks who organized the scholarship program for the conference. I really would not have been able to attend had it not been for the support I received. I am so grateful I was able to go to this conference)
A couple of weekends ago, on a muggy Sunday morning, I made my way to a little Spanish restaurant in the middle of the city. It wasn’t opened yet, but that was the point – I had the pleasure of working with the incomparable Dahlia Katz on a photoshoot for this blog.
We spent a couple of hours chatting, posing, and taking shots. In front of the bar, behind the bar, in the front window, further into the dining room, in a variety of poses and stances.
This photoshoot was such a great time!!
Dahlia is a fantastically talented photographer, and put me at such ease that the whole thing felt more like hanging out with a new friend instead of what it could have been – an awkward attempt to not look like an idiot. Luckily there was never a danger of that while I was in Dahlia’s hands.