Wild, Crazy and Fast-Paced Time for Texas Wine at The 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Virginia


From http://toledowinesandvines.blogspot.com

Wild, Crazy and Fast-Paced Time for Texas Wine at The 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Virginia

or…”@TinBarnVyds: We came. We poured. We sweated profusely. #wbc11 <- :)”

I imagine yesterday’s action here at the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, was something like what Raymond Haak from Haak Vineyards and Winery told me about during one of our visits. He said, “There is that flash of excitement that I got with bull riding. You have the feel of the big bull clamped between your legs, the pull of the rope and your holding on for dear life.” Friday was a bit like that for me.

I poured Texas wines at two frenetic WBC11 events:

LIVE Wine Blogging – Llano Estacado Viviana (premium aromatic white blend): In one hour, I presented and poured this wine at 12 tables with seven people at each table. I wanted to get a photo, but it was non-stop action. Luckily, someone took a photo which you can see below…I’m in the mix somewhere.

The Other 46 Wine Tasting (wines NOT from CA, WA, NY or OR) – In this two hour event last night, I pour four Texas wines: Brennan Vineyards Viognier 2010 (@TXViogner), McPhersonCellars Viognier 2010 (@McPhersonCellars), Lone Oak Winery Reserve Tempranillo 2009 (@LoneOakWinery), and Llano Estacado Cellar Select Tempranillo 2009, Newsom Vineyard (@LlanoWine). The crush of people wanting to get a taste of Texas surprised me. At several points in the evening, the crowd was four deep surrounding my pouring station. Again, I wanted to get a photo, had my camera out and on the table, but I never got a shot off; never had time!

So, I decided that the best way to capture the day’s activities was to examine the Twitter Feed and Google search results using the keywords that involved #WBC11, Texas, Vintagetexas and the twitter handles for the four Texas wineries that sent their wines. This blog only contains a quick summary, but it’ll give you some highlights and some interesting insights on how “this whole wine blogging thang” works. On Twitter, it’s sometimes hard to know if the comment is coming from a flesh-and-blood attendee or someone from a world of virtual wine tasting sitting in Timbuktu. There are tweets and retweets and websites around the world that aggregate twitter content and search it. There are Facebook page postings as well as postings from the road warriors of the bloggosphere – the LIVE field bloggers, typos and all. Well, jump on and you’ll see where this takes you. Here goes!

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Mutineermag, Los Angeles, CA, A nationally distributed fine beverage magazine, we cover it all. Beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, water, etc. Have you joined the Mutiny? http://www.mutineermagazine.com

mutineermag: Yee-hah, Texas! It’s a four-wine blend called Viviana from Llano Estacado Winery. Sweet-tart. Maybe a spicy pork with some pineapple? #WBC11

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Wild 4 Washington Wine

Facebook: #wbc11 Texas wine…sweet smells like Muscat, floral, orange vlossoms, light, gewetz, viognier, muscat Canelli, Riesling, blend of four. Light and muy crispy. Sharp, with some fizz, would be good with Grilled Sardines.$22.95 I think it would work with lamb and a roast.

From AncientFireWineBlog.blogspot.com/

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Michael Bottigliero @WCWineGuy Chicago, The Windy City Wine Guy! CMS Certified Sommelier, WSET Advanced Certified. Wine Consultant for Corporate/Private Events, Beverage Programs & Staff Training.

http://WindyCityWineGuy.com: “@WCWineGuy Just walked in to the “other 46″ tasting #wbc11 and I see Maryland, Missouri, Indiana, Texas, Ohio, Virginia #wine here. #wbc11”

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WBC Okanagan


RT @wbcokanagan: Texas tempranillo. I kinda feel like I’m at a Miss America pageant for wine. #wbc11 http://lockerz.com/s/122737375

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Mark Broadfoot, @mjfoot San Diego

mjfoot: “@BridgetEileen: Trying some Texas wines, Brennan Vineyards Viognier and LLano Tempranillo #wbc11″… potential!

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RobertLarsen @RobertLarsen Healdsburg, CA, PR dude at Rodney Strong Wine Estates http://www.rodneystrong.com/

RobertLarsen: Texas Viogner from Brennan tasting very good. Crisp. Floral. #WBC11

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Carter Bitten @CarterBitten Down the road, VA. Kicking the can down the road. Reformed Congressional adviser who sous chefs (outside Beltway), appreciates world-class wines & people, loves soccer.

CarterBitten: “@SonomaWilliam Brennan viognier from TX at #wbc11 not bad! #wine” <—not exactly a ringing endorsement. I’ve drunk it. I like it! #brennan

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VT.com/blog comment: The following was the most interesting exchange following a visit to the Texas wine pouring station by Jancis Robinson MW. She asked to taste some Texas wine, but when I offers Viognier, she mentioned that she was Viognier-ed out from all the (good) Virginia Viogniers she tasted during her stay and chose the Tempranillos instead. With that, I sent out a quick tweet about the experience. Within a moment, it was picked-up and retweeted by a guy that could have been at the conference (or not):

William Pollard Jr @wild4wawine Richland, WA USA

Writing about wine in the heart of Washington (state) country. Broadening my palate and sharing what I learn. http://www.wild4washingtonwine.com

wild4wawine: “RT @VintageTexas: Get ready for #wbc11 Other 46 Tasting @JancisRobinson stopped by for a spot of Tempranillo; was Viognier out from VA #txwine”

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Then when I thought the comment has passed, I received a Twitter response from Jancis herself who had just returned to her room with the packet of Texas wine information that I gave her during our brief encounter and tasting.

Jancis Robinson, Wine-, food-, words- + family-loving workaholic http://www.jancisrobinson.com

@VintageTexas That was quick! Only just got back to my room, quickly writing up what you told me about Tempranillo in TX.”

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The most unusual item that I found while doing a Google search on “Texas wine WBC11” was a posting on a wrestling online magazine and news website: http://wrestling.msg.com/article/033yaX29mQbyN

Vintage Texas 3 days ago “My Wine Blogging Brethren, It’s Time to Taste Some Texas Wine at #WBC11…..In only two days, I’ll be flying away to join my wine blogging brethren at the 2011 North American Wine Blogger Conference (aka #WBC11) being held this year in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is my first time back to this “Blogfest of Wine” since its… Full Article at Vintage Texas

I guess that wrestlers need wine, too!

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I also found that some of the bloggers were well syndicated with comments showing up on wine, food and travel websites all over the country. These are the “hidden reach” of the Internet. About the only way that I’ve found to find these is to do manual searches as Tweeter search do not find them. See below:

Tourism Search – The Tourism Search

Marguerite Barrett Viviana 2009 Region: Texas – yes there is wine in Texas! Four varietals: 30% Gewurtztraminer, 30% Riesling, 10% Viognier and 30% Muscat Canelli – all grown locally in Texas. Nose: lovely nose with lush notes of honeysuckle. Palate: In the mouth the wine is a bit of a surprise.


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Love to taste, talk and tweet about Texas wines and where they are in the global scheme for wines. After all that's the only way they will reach the full potential.


  1. I was following the live speed tasting and was surprised it was about 50/50 in positive vs. negative comments for the Viviana. But with that many wines in that short a time, one probably doesn’t get a chance to really taste effectively.

  2. The way I look at it. It is a non-traditional wine (as Llano Estacado readily admits). It was developed as a research project by Greg Bruni’s young (millennial) wine makers like Chris Hall to produce a mllennial wine. There specs were:

    1. Low alcohol/crisp
    2. Fruit-driven
    3. Food friendly

    Aromatic varietals used in Viviana are harvested early to preserve acidity, but still have their full compliment of ripe aromatic characteristics.

    It is out-of-the-box, but is great for the weather and cuisine in Texas as far as I’m concerned. It is not particularly for someone that likes old oaking Chardonnays.

    I think that you will see more comments on blogs once people get home and sort thru what they have consumed.

    Thanks for comments.


  3. PS to Jeff….The “big oak” drinkers at WBC11 at The Other 46 event really liked the Texas Tempranillos. I think that Llano Estacado’s Tempranillo was in Spanish terms a Crianza style, young, fruit-driven and moderate oak aging, and the Lone Oak Vineyards Tempranilo was more like Risvera or Grand Risvera Style with 30 months of American Oak on it.

    Lots of wows for both the Temps and Viogniers (Brennan’s with more old work styling and minerality and McPherson’s with a more fruit and floral approach, but not over ripe as many in CA do it.


  4. Dont know what TL you guys were following, but there were allot of negative comments coming across my feed about the oaked chards. Allot of people were saying things like “did these guys not get the memo about cougar juice?”
    The speed tasting is rather interesting in my opinion as it gives the taster a quick first impression of the wine. And I believe Viviana is a great wine for that. However I was displeased with the 1 sided use of comments being spat out by you and @llanowine Didnt you guys learn there at WBC this year that Twitter is not here for your own personal PR movement. Its a 2way street and intelligent consumers pick up on that fact pretty quick.
    I though it was always “Texas wine Either you Like it or you Dont”

    Caymus Conundrum is a similar wine that is priced in about the same range and is highly regarded. Current vintages have much more RS that Viviana. I just think people there at WBC just did not like it as much as you thought they would. There are so many wines coming across the table at these bloggers its not really a good test of a wine quality as you do not really know what the taster had before this wine.(or how much wine they had earlier 😉 ) The one thing I did notice about allot of the comments from the tasters was that they were very receptive and excited about trying a Texas wine. Thats got to be something right?

    What needs to happen is Texas should host WBC 12 in say San Antonio so that we can showcase our wines like Virginia has done.
    You have to admit Va hosting WBC has really given them more exposure than any other avenue. Even hardcore California wine bloggers have made some positive comments about Vawines, which I think does more for VA wine than anything. (thats called Street Cred.) People read bloggers and value their opinions, thats why they follow them.
    Why has Texas never seen it this way, we have relied on a failed PR program that costed 1-2mill a year (sorry but thats the truth and from the people Ive spoken to, Hahn promised the state a 300% growth) that did not do as much as the almost free publicity that VAwine is getting right now and in the past with their grass roots marketing.
    We as Texans now can grow our industry without the need for state $$. VAwine did it why cant we? We just have to be open an honest with the readers I feel thats what they really want.
    Its time Texas wine step back and analyse whats going on in the market and realize the need for passionate and opinionated bloggers to start writing about Texas wine, its the only way we are going to grow. And not just inside Texas but outside the state as well. I know about 5 bloggers out of state that constantly ask me to send them Tx wines to try.
    Somehow I feel that people in Tx wine industry are somehow scared to get negative opinions of their wines, But I say how the heck are you going to grow an industry when someone keeps telling you how great your wines are then behind their back drink something else? “En Vino Veritas”

    BTW I was impressed to read about @Sonomawilliam review on Brennan’s Viognier. Got to say thats some pretty darn good street cred to get a positive review from a hardcore California wine blogger!

  5. More from the Blogosphere:

    8) Viviana 2009 White blend. 30% Gewurztraminer, 30% Riesling, 30% Muscat Canelli, 10% Viognier. Cold fermented in stainless steel with 4 months of lees contact the rich aroma belies a dry finish. The Canellia dominates, despite the low percentage, as it does, but the other players are all there: rose petals, stone fruits, ripe melon, blossoms and honey. $22 a bottle and it competes very well with Caymus Conundrum. Sip on it’s own, or with salted nuts/salty cheeses.


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