2010 WineMaker Magazine Conference
May 24, 2010
This last Friday and Saturday, I attended the 2010 WineMaker Magazine Conference in Stevenson, WA. I attended for several reasons. I make fruit wine, making cider is very similar to making fruit wine, and it was so close I felt I shouldn’t pass it up.
Admittedly, I was a little out of place. Most of the people there were in there 50s or older, and probably two thirds of the attendants were male. However, these people had a wealth of experience, and I did go there to learn.
The group of people was a mixture – some were hobbyists like me, and some actually had their winery license. Though, when asked how long they had been making wine, most respond in seasons rather than years. After a bit, I got used to responding that I make cider, and that I had never fermented a grape in my life. After some of the classes, like making sparkling wine from wine kits, I might actually try now.
I attended classes on malolatic fermentation, troubleshooting wine problems, and yeast health. They had two tasting sessions, where the first one served us the same wine fermented with different yeasts to see how the yeast affects flavor. The second session was about the sensory of tasting.
Most of the speakers submitted their power point presentations a head of time, allowing the Conference to print them out and put them in a binder for us. That allowed us just to scribble notes rather than try to jot down everything. In addition, every presentation was projected though a PA system, which allows the organizers to record each session and then sell the entire conference recordings for $20, which is a good price if you could not attend the session and you wanted to make more sense out of the presentation power point print offs.
During lunch, they had signs on the tables like Northwest, Merlot, kit wines, and more. The idea was that if you sat at that table, then you were interested in that topic, possibly making the conversation flow easier. I sat at the Fruit Wine Maker table both days, and I met some brew supply store owners, one guy who allowed us to try his peach/plum wine, and a fellow guy interested in cider making.
Next year, the conference is moving to Santa Barbara, CA, so I will not be attending next year. However, if it came back around to this region, I would go back.