by Amy Gross, the Vine Sleuth
I love to see people work together. There is something special when people or companies who could be competitors pull together in a constructive, respectful way and help each other out. When potential competitors appreciate each other’s strengths and lend support to each other, typically the industry strengthens as a whole and each entity grows as well.
The second seminar in the Snooth PVA weekend was with wines of Oregon.
Spirit of Collaboration
The spirit of collaboration seems to be alive and well among Oregon wineries and this shone through during our dinner at the Peking Duck House accompanied by Oregon wines.
Earl Jones of Abacela, Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vineyards, and Brian O’Donnell of Belle Pente each shared about their own wineries throughout dinner, but each also shared much more about the state’s wine production as a whole. They talked about the variety in weather, topography and soil type, among other things in the different areas of Oregon. They shared about different philosophies in winemaking. And they all talked about a respect for the earth and its resources, and farming in sustainable ways.
As each gentleman spoke, he was exactly that: a gentleman, never boastful of his own winery, but appreciative of the efforts of the state’s wineries, big and small.
Steamboat Pinot Noir Project
One story that was shared really stood out to me.
Jim shared the story of the Steamboat Pinot Noir project, where winemakers bring their wines that have faults to discuss the wines and what might have gone wrong. It’s a time of collaboration and investigation, rather than a time of finger-pointing and judgment. The wines are evaluated blindly and media are not allowed to attend the event so that the winemakers are more comfortable speaking their minds and brainstorming together without worry for how an opinion might be spun.
Through projects such as this, the winemakers are able to discuss strengths and weaknesses in growing practices, as well as the full art and science of winemaking. They analyze techniques and variables and come to conclusions together.
Bloggers Working Together
There was more collaboration going on than with the wineries of Oregon at the Snooth PVA weekend, however.
Being together enabled us, as bloggers, the opportunity to follow that model and work together, too. We were able to meet in person and talk about the things that we felt were working on our sites… and think about the areas where we need improvement.
We have already begun working more closely together, sharing details, photos, and memories of the weekend. It is my hope we’ll see more of this in the future as we grow our blogs better together, yet reaching our own unique audiences that do still set us apart.
And the wines we were offered? Yes, they were all wines I would buy to enjoy again or would want to share for different reasons.
Two that especially grabbed me were the Soter Brut Rosé, a crisp, bubbly delight with tiny, consistent bubbles.
and Argyle’s Nuthouse Pinot Noir from 2010:
I have enjoyed Argyle’s sparkling wines many times, but this was my first time to try their Pinot Noir. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t take good notes explaining why I liked it. But I have a big “5” written by the Nuthouse Pinot Noir on my score sheet, and a 5 is the score I give to wines that wow me the most. (I’m pretty stingy with my 5’s.)
So, in the spirit of collaboration (and because my notes aren’t all that great), don’t take my word for it. Click over and take a look at the posts by some of the bloggers who were there with me: (As more posts go up, I will link to them here, as well.)
- Benito’s Wine Reviews: Snooth PVA Oregon Wine Board Dinner
- Vindulge: Meeting Abacela Winery– 3,000 miles east of Oregon
Also, click over to the Oregon Wine Board’s site to learn more about Oregon wines. And maybe I’ll see you in Oregon this summer. After a quick trip last summer and this seminar, I’m hooked and ready to explore it some more.
Cheers to collaboration!
Disclosure: I, and the other bloggers on this trip, were guests of Snooth who provided transportation, lodging, meals and, of course, wine. Opinions expressed are my own.