Yesterday, Jason and I spent the day at VinoCamp Vancouver.
What is VinoCamp? Their definition is that "This is definitely not the wine festival". Vinocamp is about bringing wine, people and technology together in one place, making wine accessible, educational and fun.
There was a great line up of speakers (and wine) and the sessions included:
1) BC Wine Regions - Kathy Malone the Wine Maker at Artisan Wine Co. It was interesting learning about all the areas where wine was grown in BC and the breakdown of varietals in each region (The Fraser Valley is only 1% of all the wine in BC). Jason and I were lucky enough to talk to Kathy at a break and she is very knowledgable and passionate about BC wines. (Artisan Wine Co is a client of ours, and we are going to launch their website shortly).
2) Beyond Homemade - Brad Cooper the Winemaker at Township 7. Interestingly Brad really promoted the Crushpad concept as an alternative to homemade wines. At Vin|65 we built the commerce platform for Crushpad and I've been down to Crushpad myself, so it was interesting to here Brad's comments about the Crushpad concept. (Brad has a blog here that is worth subscribing too)
3) Food & Wine Pairing 101 - Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris from HouseWine.ca. These two ladies gave a very dynamic talk and explained how the weight of the dish, the intensity of the dish, the acidity, etc all come into play when pairing the wine. (There were a lot of helpful tips and 4 rules of thumb, unfortunately I can now only remember the first couple.) Michelle and Michaela were definately the best dressed at VinoCamp, but I couldn't persuade Jason to get a picture with them.
4) The Glass as a Messenger - David Sanders from Riedel Crystal. This was by far the best talk of the day. I myself and alot of others in the crowd were skeptical as to how much a difference the wine glass made in tasting wine (sure nice stemware goes well with nice wine, but does it matter that much?). We tried 4 different wines in 5 glasses and the taste of the wines were remarkably different from glass to glass. Yes remarkably different, and the right glass definately enhanced the wine, and the wrong glass either dulls or adds negative attributes to the wine. (I think I will find myself buying a couple more cases of glasses in the near future.)
5) Indian food and Wine Pairing - Bal Arneson, Chef. Bal's talk was fairly interesting (but unfortunately I had too much great wine and food by this part of the day, I was dosing off)
6) Organic/Sustainable Winemaking - Anthony Nicalo from Farmstead Wines.
7) Wine Blogging - Kelly Robson, Wine Blogger and Columnist, Chatelaine Magazine.
All in all, it was a great un-conference. I'll definately be attending next year. Lots of the crowd were tech people so a number of people were live blogging, posting pictures to flickr and tweeting throughout the day (read full session reviews by some of the live bloggers - DrinksAfterDark.com, Full-Bodied.Blogspot.com, Matthew Simpson, Stretched.ca, and view a lot of photos on Flickr)