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Beyond Scuppernong and Muscadine – Exploring Drink Local at WBC11

Or, Solicitation for Audience Participation

As most everyone in the wine blogosphere and the Virginia wine industry is aware, the 4th annual Wine Bloggers Conference is upon us – set to officially begin this Thursday in Charlottesville, VA.

Having attended the 2009 event in Santa Rosa, CA, I am excited that this year’s conference is here on the east coast – a first for the Wine Bloggers Conference.  With a newborn, traveling anywhere further than the three hour drive to Charlottesville would be frowned on by my wife.  I’m also excited to hear from (and meet) two of the most respected voices in wine journalism – Eric Asimov and Jancis Robinson – as well as hang out with some seriously talented writers/blogging folks.

Perhaps I’m slightly biased, but I feel that Virginia provides the perfect backdrop for the Wine Bloggers Conference given the growth of the Virginia wine industry coupled with the emergence of the regional wine movement.

This year I have the honor of moderating the Drink Local panel discussion on Friday afternoon, at 3pm (this is a subtle plug for this session).  As a resident of Virginia and advocate of our wine industry, the subject of drinking local is important to me, as it is to each of the Drink Local panelists – Lenn Thompson, Founder of New York Cork Report; Dave McIntyre, wine columnist for The Washington Post; and Remy Charest of Wine Case.

Each panelist was selected based on their advocacy for the wines of their region and support of the Drink Local movement (or, on how much wine they could bring with them to the conference). A knowledgeable and passionate group  – perfect for a robust discussion about the various definitions and perspectives on the meaning of ‘Drink Local,’ the emergence of oft-overlooked regions, the origins of emerging regions, and why the ‘ Drink Local ‘ movement is not supported in proportion to the ‘eat local’ movement.  Ed. Note – This latter topic is a personal peeve of mine – many of the restaurants in my area take great pride in the sourcing of local meats, cheeses and vegetables, yet do not support the Virginia wine industry with the same level of commitment and menu space.

Although I expect the discussion to move quickly and flow organically, I would like to solicit input from ‘you,’ the audience.  What does ‘Drink Local‘ mean to you?   What drink local topics are important to you, and to your particular wine region?  What are your thoughts on the specific direction of the conversation?   Please take a moment to share your opinion or ideas on the specific direction of discussion during this session.

Background and bios of the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference Drink Local panel:

Dave McIntyre
Dave McIntyre is a freelance wine and food writer and the wine columnist for The Washington Post. His columns appear Wednesdays in the Food section, and he also writes weekly for the Post’s All We Can Eat blog. His writings have appeared in Washingtonian, Wine Enthusiast, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. In 2008, he and Jeff Siegel, aka “The Wine Curmudgeon,” created DrinkLocalWine.com as a web portal for bloggers who write about local wines. DLW has morphed into an organization that sponsors annual conferences – including Colorado in April 2012 – and Regional Wine Week, when bloggers are encouraged to focus on their local wines.

Lenn Thompson
Lenn founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State and give the region the coverage it deserves. Since then, the site has become the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news.  Formerly the editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette, a contributor to Edible Brooklyn, wine columnist for Hamptons.com and regional editor for Appellation America covering the Long Island and Hudson River Valley regions, Lenn contributes to Edible East End, Palate Press, Patch and is the wine columnist for Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons.  Lenn was also recently elected to the board of the Drink Local Wine organization, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, a yearly regional wine immersion event for writers and bloggers.  Lenn lives in Sound Beach, NY with his wife Nena, four year-old son Jackson and trusty beagle, Ben Roethlisbeagle.

Remy Charest
Rémy Charest is a Quebec City based journalist, writer, and translator. He has been writing about wine and food for over 12 years in various magazines and newspapers. He writes two wine blogs (The Wine Case, in English, and À chacun sa bouteille, in French) and, as if he didn’t have enough things to do, he also started a food blog in English, The Food Case, and one in French, À chacun sa fourchette.

I look forward to meeting everyone at WBC11 and hope that you will join the Drink Local discussion on Friday afternoon.

Remember… it’s going to be very hot this week in Charlottesville – spit often and drink LOTS of water!!!


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