I discovered the #winelover community through an ambassador who spoke highly of the group. There's a blog, hashtag on Twitter, but most of the online conversation occurs in a public Facebook page. It serves as a jumping off point for many when it comes to travel, sharing their love of wine, or asking questions. Besides the online discussion, they also organize various trips. I was lucky enough to go the Athens trip a couple years ago and met Tomilsav. Once I knew he was planning a special #winelover trip and conference on an indigenous Serbian variety, Prokupac, I was SOLD. Luckily, I have my special fella who loves wine and travel as much if not more than me. He was on board this time so I had someone else to participate in my silliness and adventures.
The #winelover trip always opens with a special BYOB dinner. This dinner is designed for us to bring something special and share it with others before we truly begin our trip within the region. Last time, I brought Chester Gap Cellars from Virginia. Many of the other #winelover-s are located within Europe and were quite surprised and astounded by a Virginia wine. However, before this trip I was torn. What do I bring as something special this trip?
Before we left, I stopped by Zachys DC location with the fella as he had purchased some wine from one of their recent tasting experiences. While there I talked with Tim about our desire to bring something special and being at a loss for ideas and time. He said, "why not a Napa or Sonoma wine?" Zachys has set themselves apart by hosting a California Strong Initiative with the goal of raising $25,000 to be distributed equally among three initiatives. It was like a light went off. We bought two California wines to the BYOB dinner Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast San Adreas Fault 2014 and Matthiasson Chardonnay.
Both wines were a huge hit as I also included why I brought them and why people should care about #SonomaStrong and #NapaStrong. A new friend who runs Wines of Balkans tweeted out the Hirsch wine and encouraged people to buy and donate to various charities.
I was so excited to see that I'll have the opportunity again to taste Matthiasson during the Wine Bloggers Conference as part of the live wine blogging experience. I'm looking forward to chatting with them to learn more about their wines and sharing the love I experienced for their wine while in Serbia.
I've only been home about two weeks, but I'm ready to get back on that plane (not really, but Xanax helps) and learn more about honing my writing, networking, and sharing the Napa and Sonoma love.