Melissa Kaylene: The Wine Bloggers Conference: Day 2

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Wine Bloggers Conference: Day 2

(See day one HERE)

You know you are at the Wine Blogger’s Conference when you begin tasting at 10 am with as much champagne being poured and consumed as coffee! The opening notes began promptly at 9:30 am the next day and we had a variety of topics, from our key note speaker Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, to the Finger Lakes Country Tourism Board, who gave us a brief history on how the Finger Lakes happened, as well as the topography of the area. Lunch was presented by the Finger Lakes Country Tourism Board and we all sat outside eating salad and sipping wines of our choice from a variety of vendors at an expo held concurrent with lunch.

Afterwards there were more sessions available to choose from, and I chose to attend a class on Rieslings from the Finger Lakes region, partly because I’ve always been a fan of that grape varietal, and also because Riesling has traditionally been very dominant in the Finger Lakes region. There we learned in greater depth about the grapes, and had the opportunity to sample 8 very different styles of Riesling. Riesling is known for being a "terroir-expressive"grape, meaning that it picks up many flavors from the soil and surroundings.

Directly after the hour long session began another one, which was unlike any other session I had experienced: live wine tastings and tweeting. 10 local wineries were in attendance, and the closest thing I can refer the event to would be similar to what I’ve been told speed dating is like. Bloggers were in groups in tables and each company would take turns coming to our table to let us sample one of their wines – the catch was that they only had 5 minutes to spend with us and tell us about their wine and answer questions. Oh, and yes, we were live Tweeting during it as well. After 5 minutes they switched and we had another glass of wine to sample from another winery, and this went on for an hour! It was so crazy and fast but kind of fun at the same time. We sampled only white wines on Friday, and then Saturday we held another session for just reds. I’m not normally an iced wine person, but I did happen to like Casa Larga‘s iced wine. It had honey and peach aromas, and was rich and smooth which made it very enjoyable.

Directly after the speed tasting event (as I refer it to), we all set outside where tour buses were ready and waiting to take us to different locations that were all a surprise. The idea was to just hop on a bus, enjoy the ride, and then share your experiences with each other afterwards.

I was so very happy where I ended up though! Remember the Dr. Frank’s Riesling I sampled? The particular bus I hopped on ended up taking us to their vineyard and winery, which overlooks Keuka Lake. We were greeted outside at the vineyard with tastings not only from Dr. Frank’s winery, but also from Lucas Wines and Genova Winery. The scenery surround us was so peaceful; so surreal. After chatting and learning more about the vineyard we headed in to the tasting room, where all three wineries generously brought in 3 different library wines out for us to try, and offered delicious fruit, cheese, and meat platters, which were presented in a way that I had never seen before: vertically. I couldn’t help but take a picture because I thought it was such a great idea.

I was honored that they let us try wines that they had been saving for years, the oldest wine we tasted was a Riesling from Genova from 1983! We also sampled wines from them. Dr. Frank and then Lucas Wines brought in three different Cab. Franc out from 2007, 2005, and 2002 so we could all taste the differences between the bottles.

When we finished with the wine tasting we were all invited out onto the tasting room’s deck, and we enjoyed lovely Buffett style dinner with the owners from each of the wineries, who were all so kind and generous. They truly were amazing hosts.

We returned to the bus after dinner to head back to Corning, which was about an hour drive from the lake, and everyone enjoyed themselves on the bus, pouring more wine and chatting with each other.

When we returned we were dropped off at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, where a reception was waiting for us. There we had small bites and wines to taste as we freely browsed through the gallery levels as live music was performed.  

After the reception I headed downtown with a few friends that I had made, and we stopped into what had become a very popular restaurant and bloggers, called Hand and Foot. There we had a cocktail (or two) before we headed off to an after party at the hotel which was hosted by Jordan Winery. I finally got to sleep after two am – happy and very exhausted!

Click HERE for Day 3! 



  1. Are you kidding me? You got to do all this and it was only day 2. That is AWESOME. What a great gig. Your photos are mouthwatering. I like the clipboard trays. I'll bet they had fun finding what would stick and what just couldn't hold on lol.
    I hope to venture to a couple BC wineries next week. The nearby forest fires should have abated by then. Unfortunately they won't know if the grapes are smoke damaged until they distill them.

    1. Yes! The Wine Bloggers Conference kept their days jam packed! I thought the clipboard trays were so original too!

  2. I think you meant Hand and Foot for the restaurant!

    1. You are absolutely right! Thank you for catching my error!