Unfortunately we did not attend the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference. It was a couple of thousand miles away in Portland, Oregon — a great destination and one of our favorite cities. Fun fact: did you know Portland rests on an extinct volcano?
In 2011 we participated in the wine pouring event on the lawn at Monticello during WBC11 in Charlottesville (and wrote about it, “Get Off My Lawn!“). We could attend the next one as an industry wine blogger, so we just might do that.
Ah, Portland. After our last visit to Portland and the Willamette Valley, it was a long time before we could imbibe Pinot Noir again because we had so much of it. Amd we have fond memories of several outstanding restaurants — Wildwood and Higgins come to mind — both outstanding. Of the wineries we visited, Kramer Vineyards was a lot of fun, and notable for having its Pinot Noir own-rooted rather than grafted; Van Duzer Vineyards, where we were looked after by a gentleman who looked like a lumberjack but was actually the winemaker, and Torii Mor Winery, which seems a bit schizophrenic with its Japanese gardens but producing outstanding French style wines. Witness Tree Vineyard outside of Salem was another standout where the owner was behind the tasting counter while he had a crew in the vineyard performing leaf-pulling. Firesteed was another great find, with tastings conducted in their freezing storage facility.
Van Duzer Vineyards inspired us to plant two different clones of Pinot Gris as a way to lend complexity to the wine — one clone has an inherent steeliness and minerality, while the other is dominated by rounder pear and peach notes. We should have a small crop next year — we’re really looking forward to that.
We do realize there is so much more to Oregon Wine Country than the Willamette Valley — its just that its so convenient to Portland. We’d love to make a return trip to visit the winegrowing areas in other parts of the state. One thing we do notice is how most growers there concentrate on just a few varieties, rather than presenting broad product lines in an effort to have something that appeals to every price point and palate.
We’re hopeful that attending the next conference won’t feel like traveling behind enemy lines. Most bloggers offer wine reviews, and as a rule we don’t review wine here, because we consider it a professional courtesy not to comment on the offerings of our compatriots. But since most wine bloggers do provide reviews and in honor of WBC12, we’ll leave you with this one.