As you may recall from last week, I was at Willakenzie Estate on the first real day of the Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC12–the ’12’, I found out later, represents the year, not the number of times the event has been held–this was actually the fifth WBC and my first–I know, confusing as hell). We had just been outside talking about soil and dropping fruit in the vineyard (that’s a wine geeky term for those of us ‘in the know’–aka the ‘cool cats’) and we had then moved inside and sat down at a table with several glasses of pinot.
I was just aching to get my pinot on, but before we were to start
drinking tasting, they announced a ‘competition’ to win a magnum of pinot noir. This immediately piqued my interest and for the moment, I forgot about drinking the pinot (but only for a moment). I love contests, I love pinot, I love magnums, and I love ‘free’. Above all, perhaps, I love competition and I am not apologetic about it in the slightest. ‘You’re so competitive‘ has become an insult for some reason. Meh. I used to be a basketball and baseball coach and I used to tell my players: “If they are going to keep score, you might as well win.” Actually, I just used to make them run until they puked, but the message was essentially the same (right?). Even if the ‘prize’ were a warm bucket of spit, I would be all in, trying to win, that’s just how I roll. As I have aged, though, I do not get that upset when I lose, but let’s just be clear–I don’t like it.
Basically, they wanted us all to tweet with the hash tag #AVAYC (I really do not know how to explain a hash tag–essentially it is the way to add a theme or category to your tweet–if enough people do it, then it will be ‘trending’ on Twitter and this will send those who care about this into a manic frenzy). The winemakers were going to chose the best tweet and that lucky SOB was going to win a magnum of their pinot. Thus, in order to win, I would have to learn how to tweet. If you go to my Twitter account (@masi3v), you will see that I have a bunch of tweets. By FAR, the VAST majority are automatic–every time I buy or drink a bottle of wine, Cellar Tracker sends out a tweet for me. I could turn that off if I wanted (and actually know how to do that), but I have it in my mind that more tweets are better than fewer tweets (see the above competition rant).
As soon as the contest was announced, people were hard at it (wait, isn’t there a ‘ready, set, go’?). There was a big screen set up, scrolling through the tweets in real-time. After a few minutes, as I was vacillating between coming up with a compelling tweet and mastering my iPhone, I paused and looked around. There was little human interaction at all—everyone was either pounding away on their mobile device or glued to the screen, reading all the tweets. Great, the room had turned into a bunch of adolescents. I knew I had no chance. What compounded my plight—I could not connect to the wireless and there was absolutely no 4G reception whatsoever. At one point, it had become so dire, that Lynn Penner-Ash, a self-described luddite (one who fears technology), came over and was trying to help me out. I guess I must have been rather pathetic….
Eventually, I came up with what I thought was a rather clever tweet (more on that later), but given the issues with the wireless, I just kept trying to send the tweet over and over to no avail. When my 140 characters of pure genius finally made it through, there were seven of the same tweet that came up all at once. Talk about ‘smooth’ (or desperate/incompetent/pathetic–your choice).
Eventually, we were able to attack those glasses of pinot, but due to the heat, they were not showing all that well–I was only able to pick up on the alcohol, so no comments on the wine. That did not stop me from draining each and every glass, though. All the while, the tweets were flying up on the screen. Here are a few:
—violet-pink rose petals, pomegranate, black cherry
Violet pink rose petals? Huh? Seriously? Come on, man, do those even exist? If they do, how are they different than “fuchsia-crimson”?
–Pinot Noir Mt Richmond Vnyrd 2010: Eucalptus, dusting of lavender, Montmorency cherry, currant, and chocolate mint.
Just a dusting of lavender? Montmorency cherry? Ummmm, they don’t sell those at the Whole Foods….
–dense delightful; anise, bay leaf, tamarind, red rose petal, Mexican cinnamon and warm strawberry.
Red rose is a bit pedestrian (not quite violet-pink, n’est-ce pas?), but glad to see it is Mexican cinnamon because New Mexican cinnamon is just crap, clearly.
–Pinot Noir gorgeous nose seude [sic], sandelwood [sic]; black cherry, wild strawberry, currant, anise, fennel, & pepper
Suede and sandalwood? I’m done here.
Then there were several tweets that I thought were very clever:
There had been a couple weddings out in the vineyard apparently (I need a few points with the wife these days, so cut me some slack)….
When one couple got married, they registered for vines to be planted in the vineyard (I need a LOT of points…).
We then moved outside (still hot) and walked up the hill in the vineyard, with a few stops for appetizers (and wine) along the way. I walked up most of the way with Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash, two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet, but both with a sarcastic, acerbic edge that was right in my wheelhouse. I took a few photos:
We got up to the top and found a table to sit down for dinner. Being the
stalker opportunist that I am, I plopped myself between the rock stars:
It was a great dinner of lamb and potatoes and pinot (and the temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees):
Lynn announced the winner of the Penner-Ash.
It was yours truly. I put my hands in the air, thinking I had just won the Tour de France. The other winners were announced just after that, but I did not give a honey badger about them, I won the best pinot on the docket, and I did not even have to run until I puked to win it….