This year marks my first year at the annual Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC17). What I was looking forward to was learning more about the blogosphere, how to improve my writing skills, and — of course — meeting with the people I chat with almost on a daily base — either on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook (in some cases all three) in real life. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how fast we’d become real life friends and how, just within the span of a long weekend, we’d all form lifelong relationships bonded by our mutual love and respect for the world of wine.
I’m not saying there weren’t some crazy antics behind the scenes — but when it comes right down to it, each participant seemed to have their own professional niche in the wine world. And because I don’t yet have a space for a blog roll on my site (this will definitely be in Phase 2, as it were, as I continue to build), I wanted to dedicate a post to a few other bloggers — both writers and podcasters — whose websites I think are worth subscribing to.
Brought to you by husband and wife duo Lori and Mike Budd, the two are dual winemakers and bloggers, with Lori taking the helm of the blogging platform. What I love about the Dracaena website is that with Lori’s B.A. and M.S. in Biology and Michael’s B.S. and M.S. in Food Science, they’re really able to dive deep behind the science of wine — in a fun and accessible way. Everyone from the super wine nerd to the new-found wine novice can easily learn from Lori’s writing style. And for those who prefer to listen to their lessons in wine, Lori also hosts the Dracaena Podcast.
Another husband and wife team is Allison and Chris of AdVineTures who are here to appeal to the wanderlust in all of us. The Canadian-based couple has been to over 80 countries between them, tasting all kinds of wines along the way. They each have their Level 2 WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) as well as their Canadian Wine Scholar desigination (CWS), and regularly contribute to NatalieMaclean.com. (Canada’s largest wine review website.)
I actually met Anatoli before reading his blog and found him to be one of the most insightful wine lovers I’ve ever met. He has a way of challenging your position on a wine in a respectful, teacher-like, and almost fatherly way. After checking out his site, Talk-A-Vino, I found out why. Much like me he first got into wine “recreationally,” but shortly fell through the rabbit hole that is the study of wine. He went on to study at Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World’s Wine School, found work as a sommelier, and eventually passed the first course to become a Certified Sommelier. What you’ll find on his website is the knowledge and insight of a real pro — everything from an index breakdown of grape varieties, vintage charts, a breakdown of wines found in the US, a wine glossary, and of course his own wine reviews complete with scoring. (Honestly, there’s much more to Anatoli’s site — you’ll just have to read it for yourself.)
What I love about Jim vanBergen’s site is that it is honest, unpretentious wine writing. Though he admits he got his start as a “classic French wine snob,” his innate curiosity took him to regions beyond the motherland. And, as it is with wine, the more one learns, the more one wants to share — at a party, at home, or through the guise of a wine-based website. I think the JvBUncorked message is truly this: “With choosing wine, all that matters is that you know what you like, and the next step is being willing to taste and try new things — whether your frame of reference is wide or narrow.” Cheers to learning together, Jim!
Wine Road Podcast
Marcy Gordon and Beth Costa are the bantering women behind the mic of this Sonoma-based podcast. “Dubbed the Click and Clack of Wine,” these two have expert knowledge of what’s going on in wine country and work to promote tours, tastings, and events in a fun and informative way. Marcy is a freelance wine and travel writer whose work has been published in Wine Enthusiast, Forbes Travel Guide, Sonoma Discoveries, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Beth is the Executive Director of the Wine Road — an association of wineries and lodgings working together with small, artisanal producers to create a variety of programs, events, and services aimed at enhancing visitors’ Sonoma experience. So these ladies know wine, and wine country, inside and out!
Rockin Red Blog
If you don’t know Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog, well, you should. Her writing has appeared in such major publications as Snooth, The Daily Meal, Basil & Salt Magazine, Food Wine Travel Magazine, Plano Profile Magazine, Casa Life Magazine, and Which Winery — oh and of course her blog! What you’ll find on her site is both insight to the world of wine (indeed, this woman is an avid traveler) as well as to her more personal Dallas life (of which there’s no shortage of adventure). Check out her website for expert wine reviews, recipes, and of course food and wine pairings. (No wonder I like this girl…)
Washington State Beer and Wine
Nancy Croisier is another woman whose passion for wine combines with her passion for her local community. At Washington State Beer and Wine, we not only get insight into the wines of the Yakima Valley, but we also get to read recipes and learn expert wine pairing from a Certified Specialist of Wine and wine educator. As Nancy says, “I have an appetite for life, fine wine, and delectable food…Come on in, can I pour you a drink?” (Yes, yes you can, Nancy.)
The Fermented Fruit
Meeting Ryan of the Fermented Fruit was like meeting my wine-loving soulmate. The first words he said to me were “Get in the car, lady!” And get in the car I did. Not a professional wine critic, nor formally educated in wine, Ryan is just a guy who started writing about a topic he has a deep-rooted passion for — and it shows with every word in every post. What I love about Ryan’s blog is his ability to find common themes between wines, dive deep into the story of winemaker, or tell the detailed history of a winery. Instead of attempting for post quantity, he excels at post quality. Also, as a native Marylander, he has fantastic insight to the wines of the East Coast. (You know, for those of us wrapped in California wine country…)
Napa Food and Vine
This is another husband-and-wife wine blog run by the affectionately named “Brit” and “California Girl,” aka David and Amber. The two have an insider’s knowledge to California’s North Bay wine region because they live right in the heart of it. I’ve met Amber on more than one occasion, and she has the most compassionate attitude one could ask for in a friend. And she brings that compassion to Napa Food and Vine (of which she is the main contributor). What you’ll find on this site is not just expert wine country knowledge, but a woman who cares about the people who plan to visit her neck of the woods. Read restaurant and winery reviews, activities and “other things to do” in wine country, as well as her weekly bargain wine buys, and mouthwatering recipes. There’s seriously something for everyone on this website.
We Like Drinking
The Jeff’s of We Like Drinking are like my wine brothers, but you don’t have to meet them to feel that way. Listen to just one of their podcasts and you’ll feel like you just bellied up to the bar with the cast of Cheers, are lounging on the orange couch with Friends, or grabbing a coffee at whateverthehelldiner on Seinfeld. But beyond their, shall we say, winning personalities, the show brings on a whole host of experts in the beverage industry — from winemakers to wine writers (including fiction!), craft brewers and sommeliers. So be prepared for some goofy fun, but be prepared to learn something along the way. And besides, when you listen to the We Like Drinking show: “You never drink alooooooonnnneeee…..” (Ok, now you have to listen in order to understand that joke.)
BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!