wawgg-ing the tale

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I am in Kennewick on Wednesday and Thursday for the annual meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG – pronounced “wag”). I am participating as a panelist in two featured seminars, and will blog about them on Friday. But first, a preview.

My friend and colleague Andy Perdue has written a nice overview of the event that’s a quick intro for those of you who do not live in the Northwest. Roughly comparable, as Andy mentions, to the bigger trade event in California, the Wine & Grape Symposium, WAWGG features the latest in gear and winemaking essentials, seminars aimed at those involved with viticulture, opportunities to network and catch up on the latest gossip, and more.

The ‘more’ part of the program continues to expand, and it is making WAWGG an essential event for anyone who makes or writes about wine. My two panels, for example, cleverly combine viticultural topics with larger issues of marketing, winemaking, and sales.

On Wednesday morning, as the final part of a session dedicated to “Myth Busting In Vineyard And Winery Practice”, I will join a panel consisting of grower Ted Wildman and winemakers Paul Beverage and Stu Smith to discuss sustainable, organic, and Biodynamic vineyard practices. I am to provide “A Wine Critic’s View Of Sustainable, Biodynamic and Organic Wine.” Given that Stu Smith is the author of a blog entitled “Biodynamics is a Hoax” I think it is fair to say it’s going to be a lively session.

On Thursday, a session entitled “Syrah: Star Or FUBAR?” and chaired by Brian Carter will send me to the podium along with Bob Betz, Marty Clubb and Brett Scallon to debate the future prospects for Washington syrah. This topic has more or less worn itself out on blogs, after a pretty solid run, but the problems remain and it will be interesting to hear what others have to say. The session runs almost three hours and includes a wine tasting, so there will be plenty of time to dig into the nitty gritty. Once again, I am there to represent the views of the press. Always a challenge, since writers, like grizzly bears, do not travel in packs and rarely agree with each other on anything.

For more complete information, here is a link to a PDF that details the whole four day she-bang. Hope to meet some of you there!

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