What I love most about wine writing is the opportunity to discover new wine regions. Since 2009, TasteCamp, founded by my friend Lenn Thompson, has provided me with some of the best opportunities to do so, with a three-day intensive session of tasting and visiting that has taken participants to Long Island and the Finger Lakes, in New York, and in the Niagara region (on both sides of the US-Canada border).
Since last year, I’ve joined the event’s organizing committee and have been happy to work on this next edition, which will take place in Northern Virginia on the first weekend of May. After a first taste of Virginia wines at the Wine Bloggers Conference, last July, I’m happy to return for a more in-depth look at what defines this wine-producing state.
Today, we’re glad to make the first official announcement about the fourth edition of TasteCamp. Without further ado, here is the official press release about the May festivities.
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TasteCamp 2012 heads to Northern Virginia
Fourth edition of wine bloggers and wine writers’ meeting heads to Loudoun County, May 4-6.
The organizers of TasteCamp are proud to announce that after exploring the regions of Long Island, the Finger Lakes and Niagara (US and Canada), the event will hold its fourth edition in Northern Virginia wine country on May 4-6, 2012. Several important partners and sponsors have confirmed their participation and are working together to create an exceptional opportunity to discover the very best that Virginia wine has to offer.
The 2012 program will feature the combination of vineyard visits, grand tastings, conversations with winemakers and camaraderie that has made the event so successful over the last three years. Participants will also take part in what has become a TasteCamp tradition, a BYO dinner where wine lovers share special bottles in a freestyle evening of discovery and one-upmanship.
TasteCamp founder and New York Cork Report executive editor Lenn Thompson said that there was much reason for the event to head for the vineyards of Virginia: “The 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference was a great opportunity for both Virginia and bloggers, but I wanted to bring TasteCamp to Northern Virginia to offer a truly immersive experience. We want attendees to eat, drink, sleep and breathe Virginia wine for three days. It’s of course impossible to fully explore a region in just a weekend, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.”
Over its three first years, TasteCamp has generated significant attention for the wine regions where it has taken place, generating dozens of stories and articles every year. It also offers emerging wine regions an exceptional opportunity to have their wines tasted by a passionate outside audience that brings a different light to local wine production and creates new conversations with local winemakers.
Essential Virginia partners
Three of the region’s top wineries will be hosting TasteCamp participants for lunches, dinners and grand tastings of Virginia wines, where many other wineries will provide a portrait of what this increasingly important wine producing state can offer. The three confirmed host wineries are:
- Breaux Vineyards, in Purcellville overlooking the valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains, is one of Virginia’s most popular estates, with over 100 acres under vines.
- Boxwood Winery, founded by former Washington Redskins’ owner John Kent Cooke, is located in the historic village of Middleburg, and produces Bordeaux blends from 100% estate-grown fruit, in collaboration with renowned consulting winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt.
- Tarara Winery is located in the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains on 475 acres along the Potomac River in Leesburg. One of Loudoun County’s oldest wineries, Tarara focuses on single-vineyard wines.
TasteCamp 2012 organizers are also excited to be counting on partnerships with two key Virginia organizations. The Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office (Virginia Wine) and the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association (Visit Loudoun) will both be partners of the event, offering logistical, financial and/or transportation support.
Rooms have been set aside at the National Conference Center, in Leesburg, Virginia, only 12 miles from Dulles International Airport and a short drive from most of the vineyards visited over the weekend. A special room rate is offered to TasteCamp guests at this large-scale facility located on a quiet 110-acre campus.
TasteCamp 2012 organizers will have more announcements as the wine weekend approaches.
The concept for TasteCamp, created in 2009 by Lenn Thompson, executive editor of the New York Cork Report, is a simple one: getting enthusiastic journalists and bloggers together in a region that is new to them, to taste as much wine as possible and speak to as many winemakers as possible over the course of a weekend.
Most smaller, lesser-known wine regions in the world would love to get their wines in front of new audiences, but it can be a challenge. With TasteCamp, the new audience comes to them.
This is not a junket — attendees pay their own travel expenses, including their hotel rooms and meals. Through generous sponsors, some meals may be deeply discounted.
Follow the Latest updates on TasteCamp 2011:
• On Twitter: #TasteCamp
To participate as an attendee, contact Lenn Thompson at lenn (at) newyorkcorkreport.com
To participate as a sponsor, contact Frank Morgan at frank.j.morgan (at) gmail.com.
For more information, contact co-organizers Remy Charest (remycharest (at) mac.com) and John Witherspoon (vcuspoon1 (at) comcast.net)
Media and interview requests:
Lenn Thompson at lenn (at) newyorkcorkreport.com or
Frank Morgan at frank.j.morgan (at) gmail.com.