best third glasses

As I shove my arms through sweater sleeves and cling desperately to the notion of wearing Birkenstock sandals, I realize summer has printed its online boarding pass and is at the departure gate. le sigh…

This means a new season approaches, and while I’m ready for the onset of fall – and love it dearly – I must take a moment to reflect on what the best third glasses have been of this waning summer season. Here they are, randomly selected from my muddied memory banks.

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wrapping art for a client – and loving every minute of it

new spaces

I started a business this year. It’s been two months, and I’m still having what-the-hell-have-i-done moments. Friends advise me this will last a long, long while. A few sips were had at my  new space, M gallery | book. We drank plenty Tinhorn Creek wines, thanks to Sandra and Kenn Oldfield; chowed down on ridiculously tasty treats made by Chef Paul at Local Lounge, thanks to Cam and Christa-Lee Bond; kept caffeinated with delicious beans from Good Omens Coffee, thanks to Jamie and Jason Embree (who got married this summer – congrats!). It was a cornucopia of magnificent tastes, and I’m truly grateful to have had a few sips with such fabulous people.

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1600 wines, and far too little recognition for the people who make it happen – be they volunteer, staff, judge

1600 wines

The Okanagan Falls Winery Association invited me to dine with them as they hosted the judges from Wine Access, who were in town to evaluate 1600 wines entered from across Canada. Roland and Hagen at Wild Goose hosted a great night at their new wine shop; Dana of Joy Road Catering fed us with the most incredible (fresh, local) food; the Association wineries warmly welcomed the judges (and me, the hanger-on) to their distinctive region. An invite to check out behind-the-scenes at such a massive wine competition = unparalleled joy on my part. And really, no envy. That’s a LOT of wine.

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so many wines, so much deliciousness

hops, and hospitality

350+ wine bloggers walked into a conference room…and a bar, and a hotel, and basically took over part of Portland over four days. The 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference was a highlight of new friends, old acquaintances, and getting sidetracked. From an overwhelming opening reception by Oregon Wines, to a captivating keynote speech by Randall Grahm, a detour by Sideways author Rex Pickett to a Bonny Doon tasting, and an exploration of Oregon and area IPAs by Wes of Dobbes Winery (he went above and beyond, that one), this year’s conference was hands-down a brilliant experience. Fun fact: I like hops.

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Canadian indie-rock-uber-musicians Sloan, playing at Tinhorn Creek in Oliver (I know!)

musical interludes

There were a number of third glasses this summer set to a musical score, most of them within a five minute drive of my house. Lucky me, indeed. Strategic placement aside, the best way to explore a few glasses is barefoot on a warm summer night, dancing, surrounded by friends. That’s what I did – several times, strictly for quality control purposes and research. (and I stand by my earlier claim that it takes 3 glasses to get a Canadian audience on the dance floor/lawn)

PS: SLOAN!

dance, dance, dance

It’s a warm Okanagan evening in late August. I’m sitting on the lawn of a perfectly mown amphitheater with about 400 other music-y types, waiting for a band to take to the stage. This is almost like any other outdoor concert venue, except for one small fact: I can buy wine by the bottle, because the concert is at a winery.

There have been moments of what-the-hell-did-we-do since my fella and I moved to a small town in the middle of British Columbia’s fruit belt five years ago, but this isn’t one of them. Dancing, barefoot, on the lawn. Getting grass stains on the balls of my feet. Watching the moonrise.

It takes approximately three glasses of anything alcoholic for a Canadian crowd to get up and dance. This observation is not the result of a scientific experiment, but I’d stake my bottle of <insert valued wine here> on it. A Californian friend reminds me of this every concert we attend – as she drags me (willingly) to the dance lawn about three songs in.

This weekend, this almost-getting-to-be-fallish August night, I missed my California dancing partner as I watched the first set from my comfortable lawn seat. Just before intermission, another dance partner showed up. He and I hit the lawn at the start of the second set. By the third song, half of the audience was on its feet. Job well done.

For the record, we drank two bottles that night – three, if you count what was consumed post-show. But the impact of rate of consumption is skewed by the dancing. Or so I tell myself.

~ Jeannette

Before intermission: less than 3 glasses consumed.
More than 3 glasses consumed. (note the proximity to the stage)

photo essay 1: Oregon

There’s this killer conference all about wine. It takes place in a different region each year (voted on by attendees), and shines a light on that area. By light I mean spotlight with serious social media influence.

The Wine Bloggers Conference (North American version) just finished its 4th annual shindig, this year in Portland, OR. With more than 350 attendees, and I-have-no-idea-how-many wines, the scope of this invasion has yet to be tallied, measured, and converted into advertising dollars equivalent. One thing is certain: the event was a trendsetter on social media channels, including Twitter, where it reached worldwide trend status – it even eclipsed the The Biebs. True story.

Although I’m writing about this event for EAT magazine and won’t dish the full dirt here, I thought I’d give you a visual sample of the four day extravaganza. I managed to take a few photos – when I remembered to a) bring my camera, and b) actually use it.

Outstanding work by the conference organizers, Oregon Wine Country, Zephyr Adventures, The Doubletree Hotel in Portland (who might spend weeks locating glasses throughout the hotel, sorry), and all of the sponsors, speakers, and participating wineries. We felt the love.

Oh, and one other thing. This conference that provides millions (and I mean millions) of dollars in “free” advertising while it’s in town and for years after? It’s heading to PENTICTON, British Columbia. Mark your calendars June 6-8 2013. And be there. Or hear about it at every opportunity by those who went, and be jealous. Very jealous.

Wind machines dot the landscape as soon as you enter Oregon. Huge, erie, and almost alien – but wicked cool and super environmentally responsible. Good on you, Oregon.
Who wouldn’t want an excuse to eat grilled bananas in the morning? Breakfast at the host hotel, before a day of wine drinking – er, tasting.
This is how I started my Friday. Before noon. And it was worth every tannin.
Saturday breakfast: Voodoos Donuts, courtesy of Languedoc Wines.
Dinner sponsored by King Estate wines. Pinot Noir to the left of me, Cabernet Sauvignon to the right. Not pictured: the other 3 wines. Happy me.
The story here: after party in room 204 (one of dozens, actually), this one hosted by Columbia Gorge wineries. There was talk of kayaking the pool, and yes – that’s a keg.
Final day of the conference, and it’s confirmed: WBC13 coming to Penticton, British Columbia. (crowd goes wild!)
Day four, heading home. Car full of tired bones. But we returned with our tax-free purchases (thank you, Oregon!) and more than a few bottles of wine. And spirits. And maybe some beer…