I had serious reservations and questions about attending the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA-- The journey itself would hurt (13hrs in airplanes / airports), a destination that initially seemed more like a location vs destination, costs of getting there (the road to your dreams is often paved in nickels not gold), and to be honest, my thoughts on the overall world of wine blogging have grown fairly blah-- Since the renegade love-fest vibe of the inaugural conference in 2008, you might say little has changed in this insular world.
On my trek from the vineyard to the airport, I seriously thought about eating the costs and turning around- twice. Once at a stop for gas where some itchy kid came up to me needing change for gas or a sandwich, and another when I got to the Sacramento airport and rode the bus to the terminal A with camou'd big game hunters. A strong part, I didn't want to leave the space of the vineyard. I didn’t want to go to a place to talk about wine. I'm extremely fortunate and lucky to live it, and not alone this time, but experiencing it with people I love.
There is also the layer of BS with the importance of blogging. It is far from inconsequential, but my thought has drifted to where views, impressions, reach, followers, and quantitives don’t matter -- I sense there is great value, but like wine, it is not in numbers.
Three hours of sleep on a redeye and two layovers. Cranky. Overtired. I did the right thing canceling my seat at what was going to be a fun and celebratory pre-conf dinner.
Show up. Meet friends, chat, and retire fairly early getting an astonishing (by any standard) 11 hours of sleep. Perhaps a WBC record.
Rested, I did still feel agitated. I sent out plenty of snappish tweets that bordered on heckling (in hindsight, I didn’t go far enough). I endured and tasted some truly dreadful wines from all over-- (If your wine smells and tastes like a dead mouse drizzled with sulfur, probably don’t pour it) Fortunately there were a few rays of light on the journey through hell.
At the Friday night event at Monticello besides sweating balls, there was a need for a bit of reverence. The presence of wine in American culture owes a lot to this space. I am happy to have been there.
Back at the hotel is perhaps where it all began-- An offline GA beer party that erupted into a celebration with wines of the Finger Lakes, Sherry, Bordeaux, VA Wines, Greek and Austrian juice, and me pouring a friend’s wine that in the right space will make you weep for love and loss-
It is exactly in these joyous times where and when we share what we love-- This is why we are here. This is when we we make a difference.
A blast of Riverside. Visits from hotel security and a relocate to the hotel lobby. Sleep eventually finds 4AM.
In the AM, my snark is still at an elevated level, but I know why I am here. To experience the moments where we are truly alive, together-- and at a deeper level it is a love that connects us, not just the wine.
We sit at an important time where communication is cheap and easy-- We have a responsibility to seek the the truth In Vino Veritas- and it is not a truth not of the tongue and words, but of wines and place and people and heart. A wake up call to myself to joyously seek truth like a motherfcker, for the lies ride parasitic off of all that is good and all that is true.