Hello to you!

What a whirlwind week it has been with countless good times, great wines and new friendships firmly in tack.

I selected my 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference ‘Pre-Conference Excursion’ to go and visit Amador County AVA.  I chose Amador due to its smaller size and more rustic appeal.  They also have excellent growing conditions for Zinfandel along with the big up and comer, Barbera.  Located in the Shenandoah Valley, grape growing compromises the single largest agricultural commodity and the Amador Vintners Association is made up of 38 wineries.



Historic Kennedy Mine in Amador County with Leeann Froese, Kris Manning and Sujinder Juneja.


Amador Vintners laid out a hearty welcome for us on the Wednesday evening and we were introduced to some of the key players within the industry.  Here is what I loved – nothing showy or pretentious – just a bunch of grape growers and winemakers doing what they loved and sharing their wines with us.

Of course, I found a favourite or two during the Wednesday reception.  One of them was Renwood Winery’s Jubilance sparkling rosé made with 100% Zinfandel.  I had never tried a 100% Zinfandel sparkling rosé that rocked my world before but this stunner absolutely did. So much so that my girlfriend in wine, Donita Dyer, and I decided to do a live video of a tasting note.  We invited friends Leeann Froese, Glynis Hill and Julia Coney to join in for our third installment of our Pink Tank rosé review and you can see it here.

Our stay at the Hotel Sutter was lovely.  My room was perfectly situated just at the entrance to the long balcony that ran the length of the hotel.  After a long day of wine drinking and a great meal at the hotel, a few of us keeners connected on the balcony and chatted about music and wine.  Awesome.



Talented winemaker Michael Havill pouring her beautiful Albariño from Bella Grace Vineyards.


The next day, we were driven to The Old Schoolhouse where we got to interact with winemakers and their wines during a ‘speed-dating’ tasting where the bloggers moved from table to table.  It was a fast and furious event where my highlight was BellaGrace Vineyard’s Albariño – crisp, clean, perfect.

From here we moved to a modern winemaking facility at Andis Wines where we sat down to a great buffet meal of excellent homestyle food across from the winemakers who joined us from The Old Schoolhouse speed tasting.  Conversations continued and we were further able to learn about the wines of Amador County and what makes this historical gold town so fascinating.



An Old Vine Zinfandel 100+ year rootstock alongside examples of soil samples within Amador County.


We loaded our full bellies and great stories back onto our shuttles and headed to Lodi to begin the 2016 Conference that evening.

More posts to come about my time in Amador and, of course, Lodi in the next few weeks…I have a mountain of notes and heartwarming stories I would love to share with you.