Wine 2.0, a massive San Francisco event at CrushPad on the eve of April 2, left me a bit confused. Overall I’m not convinced that social media is really conducive to a social event. There were heavy overtones of a serious wine event, fraught with New World technologies (social media) and Old World wine snobbery. For that essential wine event light touch… well, a little levity was hard to find. One fun gem, tucked away in a corner, was a little orange book in a jam jar: the JarGon. Billed as “the ultimate conversation piece” and produced by very clever folks at The Imagineering Company LLC, it is a small small book covering a big big subject: the buzzwords of wine. My personal favorite? “Reserve: A term with no real legal meaning in the U.S. It implies that the wine is from the better part of the production; but it’s not.”
Seriously, folks, the event was spectacularly well organized, with huge screens RSS-feeding both real-time Tweets and comments on other social media sites. You-tube videos and more serious wine TV episodes were being recorded every way you turned. Wineries poured from approachable high round cocktail tables instead of the usual stand-behind-the-barricades-and-fend-off-the-ruffians trade show tables. The place was packed.
And there were some serious wines and some fun-loving winemakers. As always telling a good story, Jeff Stai, “El Jefe” at Twisted Oak Winery (Murphys, CA) reached behind the bottles of Spaniard and did some barrel samples of 2007 Torcido (a Grenache) and 2007 River of Skulls (a Mourvèdre). Among my favorites of their products is the rubber chicken-original recipe, which notes that debauchery is sold separately. Jeez, I thought it was all just part of the wine tasting scene.
Tearing myself away from the prospect of body-damaging fun was difficult, but there were lots of diversions. On the more serious side was the chat with Nick Buttitta, of Rosa d’Oro (Kelseyville/Lake County, CA). Rosa D’Oro specializes in Italian varietal wines, and their Primitivo was as complex and spicy as an Italian Zinfandel should be. Hard at work pouring, Nick’s son Pietro Buttitta exemplifies all that’s good about family owned wineries: intensity, passion, belief.
I could go on and on. But it’s late (the event was supposed to end at 10 p.m., but there was no rush for the door then) and … I have some reTweets to do.