“My nerves were getting to me. After all, I had no formal wine training, no valuable old bottles to bring, and was just wearing jeans in this incredibly chic venue! …
Equipped with spit buckets galore, people start rushing around like some sort of speed dating game with bottles in hand. I realized I had to be more aggressive when I looked at my bottle that was hardly touched. So off I went, to do what I do best… mingle. With some wine the worries went away and I was learning the game. But the highlight came when the crazy Portuguese guys brought out their precious port from the 1980′s and started rationing it out to the line of wine lovers. In partners of newly made friends, we ran over to the chocolate cake table to see how delicious this pairing really could be…and let me tell you.. after 4 doses of port and probably an entire cake…I was set for the evening! What an awesome end to the night and beginning to a memorable wine conference weekend.” – Anna Savino, EWBC first-timer
The unofficial start of the annual EWBC has come to symbolise the heart of this event for me. The European Wine Bloggers Conference is about a lot of things, but one of the most important is community.
This is not your regular conference, where you turn up, alone, listen in silence, exchange a few business cards and then go home, unmoved. The EWBC is an annual gathering of friends who interact all year around and for whom the three days are more like a pilgrimage than a business event, and everyone is invited.
Think back to the last conference you attended. How involved did you get with the other attendees beforehand? How much did you prepare? How many people did you know before … and after?
Nowhere is this more obvious than with the excitement generated by the “BYOB” dinner the night before the main event. The planning starts weeks before. These are passionate wine lovers. Everyone wants to bring something special, unique and personal. Over 80 wines were registered for this event (more arrived on the night) with at least 65 varieties represented. These were special bottles being brought to share. How better to make new friends than by exchanging not just names and handshakes, but wines and stories?
There is a lot left to report on regarding EWBC 2011 – great tastings and visits to the producers of Franciacorta; astonishing wines from across the hugely varied Italian landscape, tasting “modern Chile” with Italian food, and of course the theme of this event, the stories of wine. However, no report by us about the EWBC could begin without a heartfelt thank you to the AMAZING community of friends who make the event so special.
I cannot believe any organisers can be so well supported, or could expect to receive so many personal messages of thanks – even after the unfortunate outcome of what should have been the celebratory dinner on Saturday. We all, the organisers and the catering company, are truly sorry for the failure, and the patience and understanding of all participants was marvellous.
We are very excited about organising even more events for the community and announcing some wonderful plans for EWBC 2012.
If you want to catch up on this EWBC, do check out the video archive (already uploaded), the vast range of photos and all the interaction on facebook and twitter (#ewbc). Here, to entertain you, are some memories from the BYOB night (thanks to MadCatMedia):
… and don’t forget to keep an eye on this site for the EWBC 2012 announcement on November 28th 2012.
Thank you, friends, again. I raise my glass to you all.