Portland has been invaded! North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference 2012

Portland has been invaded…by wine bloggers from all over the U.S. and North America! In case you are wondering what the these hashtags like #wbc12 and #avayc or #winelover mean, you aren’t the only one…even we bloggers aren’t quite sure what they are half the time.

Twitter has taken over the wine-blogging arena: the way bloggers talk to each other these days is by @ and # signs. When I first started blogging, I was overwhelmed by the @ people and # topics that people were discussing and using as their means of communication.

This weekend has been dominated by the #wbc12, which means, “Wine Bloggers’ Conference 2012.”, The Twitter term #avayc means American Viticultural Area Yamhill Carlton; #winelover is a team of endearment for fellow winelovers and also has a link to The Wine Hub, a great marketing method used by a fellow blogger to spread the love…of wine.

Interestingly enough, we are all trying to figure out how much influence we really carry and how much credibility we hold. As bloggers, we use the interactions we have with wines and wineries as a way to help disseminate information and spread the word on a particular region or wine.  To see the perceived expectations of impact we’ll have on the Oregon Wine Industry,  you can check out the news on us:

“Wine Bloggers Conference a chance for Oregon to shine,” Oregon Statesman Journal, August 18th

“Hundreds of bloggers gathering in Portland to help shine spotlight on Oregon wine,” The Oregonian, August 16, 2012

To see our real impact, Oregon may need to wait a few months to see the direct impact as these blogs are written and shared across the world. As Oregon is now my new home, I hope to create a strong impact outside Oregon for Oregon’s wine industry through what I write and represent. I blog simply because I love writing about wine and helping demystify the wine world for others. Stay tuned!

Leaving Bodegas La Emperatriz to start a life in Willamette Valley, Oregon

Last week was my last week at Bodegas La Emperatriz in Rioja Alta, Spain. I am now preparing to leave Europe and move to the North Willamette Valley of Oregon. The Willamette Valley is located South, South West of Portland, Oregon and is well known for their award winning Pinot Noirs.

For more information on Willamette Valley, please visit: http://willamettewines.com/ where they have some great maps of the wineries in the region. They are also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/willamettewines

For information on what is going on in this area and an interactive trip planner, visit: http://www.oregonwinecountry.org/whats/index.php

Logroño, La Rioja, named Gastronomic Capital of Spain 2012

The Famous Mushrooms from Calle Laurel

Gastronomic Capital of Spain is sponsored by the Federación Española de Hosterlería (FEHR), Spanish Federation of Hospitality, and Federación Española de Periodistas y Escritores de Turismo (FEPET), Spanish Federation of Journalist and Tourism Writers. The FEHR and FEPET created this Capital in order to promote Spanish gastronomy at a national and international level, as an attractive form of tourism in Spain.

According to the Spanish Secretary General of Tourism, in Spain, there are over 59.2 million people who visited the country in 2010, five million of which came solely for gastronomic reasons. So how does it work? Each year a city is nominated as the “Capital Española de la Gastronomía (CEG), Gastronomic Capital of Spain, which lasts from the January 1 to December 31.

La Rioja was chosen due to its leadership in Spain to market its land, wine and active tourism not only nationally but internationally. It was able to take their successful model of ecotourism to gastronomic tourism.Logrono- Gastronomic Capital of Spain 2012

Logroño, the capital, is situated in the heart of La Rioja. Oenologically (in regards to wine) La Rioja is divided into three different regions, Rioja Alta, North West of Logroño; Rioja Alavesa, the Basque wine region, North of Logroño; and Rioja Baja, South East of Logroño. Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa are well known in the wine industry, whereas Rioja Baja, which also produces wine, is primarily known for excellent agricultural products that are also under a Designation of Origin – DO similar to the wine which is under a Qualified Designation of Origin—DOCa. These DOs are a regulatory classification system used to control and ensure the quality of products of these regions in wine as well as food. Combining these quality agricultural products along with quality wine and the already established culinary culture of La Rioja, optimally makes La Rioja a prime candidate for being selected as the Gastronomic Capital of Spain.

In La Rioja, there are over 510 restaurants and 2,180 bars (that also serve food-tapas) that all share the drive and desire to continue to make La Rioja a gastronomic destination now and in the future. For these reasons and more, Logrono, La Rioja was selected as Gastronomic Capital of Spain.

Speaking from personal experience, Logroño, the city in which I live, is wonderful. I have never been a place in the world that lives, eats and breathes this concept more. Every day there is an event that demonstrates this, such as tonight, for example, I am attending a tasting that is sponsored by La Rioja, a regional newspaper, called “Lo Mejor del Vino de Rioja Cata,” The best wine of La Rioja wine tasting, which is open not only to people in the industry but also the general public. This event is held every month to highlight one Riojan winery of the region and allow everyone to try their wines with the owner and winemaker. A few weeks ago, there was a Tapas Week as part of this Gastronomic capital initiative where all the bars in Logroño served their special tapa ( small bite) with wine for a special price. There are also two streets dedicated to Tapa hopping, which is the same concept as bar hopping, except you literally go bar to bar in these two streets, Calle San Juan and Calle Laurel, and devour the beautifully tasty tapas that are specific to each bar with a wonderful Riojan wine.

What more can you ask for? If it were up to me, Logroño would be named Gastronomic Capital of the World, and this coming from someone who has lived in a lot of places. Though Peruvian and Thai food would be my next choice!