Sipping and Spitting at TOTC and AWBC

I’ve been seriously out of touch the last few weeks and apologize for the dearth of posts.  But here comes a couple to catch up.

Tales of the Cocktail and the North American Wine Bloggers Conference overlapped in June and I managed to attend parts of both.  And perhaps the most notable insight was the reinforcement of how different the worlds of wines and spirits are.

Tales has turned out to be an interesting mélange of brand, agency, trade and consumer folks doing a deep dive (some quite literally) into the lively world of ardent spirits.  Our client Mandarine Napoléon sponsored a session on the comparative perspective of European vs. American bartending ably moderated by Jonathan Pogash with panelists Simon Difford, Dushan Zaric and Nicolas de Soto.  Dushan and Employees Only cleaned up at the awards show on Sat. nite with a win for Best Cocktail Bar and Worlds’ Best Drink Selection.  He was also doing a great job of sharing the love at the Stoli table at the Wm. Grant party at the WWII museum.

Pisco captured the limelight with a session on Wed. showcasing  the range of producers and styles from Peru and Chile.  Thanks to Shelley Alger and Timothy Childs of Oro Pisco for putting the event together, ably supported by the irrepressible Pisco promoter Diego Moret de Mola of BarSol.

Tales is a great opportunity to connect with all the people in the cocktail community on an equal footing.  SVPs and MD’s, Global Brand Ambassadors and Market Managers, Bloggers, writers and all points in between come together to drink, talk, share and meet personally…something often missing from the online world we live in.  Kudos to Ann Tuennerman and the TOTC crew for besting themselves yet again and setting the bar high for next year.

NAWB by contrast is a bit more subdued event, and in my humble estimation a direct result of the very civilized convention of spitting rather than swallowing.  I missed Jancis Robinson’s speech on Thursday but did manage to catch Eric Asimov’s take on how citizen bloggers are democratizing the world of wine writing and criticism, and also undermining the career opportunities for professional wine writers.

A bunch of our friends were up for awards this year and we thought it was kind for Joe Roberts of 1WineDude and Amy and Joe Power of Another Wine Blog to cede the spotlight with top blog winner Alder Yarrow’s Vinography.

 

Charlottesville VA hosted the event and though it managed to coincide with a major humidity and heat wave, it still couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd to tour Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.  I’m guessing the author of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights never envisioned the impact of the internet on freedom of the “press”.  But it was a particularly appropriate venue for an event to showcase the capabilities of American wine producers in his home state of Virginia.

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