In high school, I hated public speaking class. In grad school, I was a lousy teaching assistant. But maybe that's because I didn't have anything worth speaking about. Like wine, for instance.
In the next few weeks I'll be venturing out of my cave for three (yikes!) public speaking engagements. The first two will be March 26 in Seattle at Taste Washington!, an annual event sponsored by the Washington Wine Commission to showcase that state's wonderful wines. I'll be on a panel discussing the terrific Seven Hills Vineyard, giving the consumer/critic's perspective along with a top-notch group of winemakers: Marty Clubb of L'Ecole No 41, Chris Figgins of Figgins Family Wine Estates (including Leonetti Cellars), and Jean-François Pellet of Pepper Bridge Winery, plus Drew Hendricks (Master Sommelier!) of Pappas Brothers restaurants. The panel will be moderated by the Wine Commission's Shayn Bjornholm (another Master Sommelier!). So I may be mostly in listening mode for this one ...
That afternoon I'll join some fellow wine writers for a panel called "What's the Point(s)?" We'll discuss different ways (100 points, stars, etc) of "quantifying the quality" of wine in general and Washington wine in particular. The panel will be moderated by Sean Sullivan, the energetic and talented author of Washington Wine Report, and my fellow speakers will be Sara Schneider of Sunset magazine and Rebecca Murphy of The Dallas Morning News. This will be a raucous, fun discussion.
The next weekend, April 2, is the DrinkLocalWine.com 2011 Conference and Twitter Taste-Off, this year focusing on Missouri wines. (Unofficial conference slogan: "Tweet Me in St. Louis!") I'll be moderating a panel discussion on "Does Locavore = Locapour?" My fellow panelists will be Ann Pollack, of the popular blog St. Louis Eats and Drinks; Glenn Bardgett, wine director of Annie Gunn's Restaurant (and a James Beard Award semi-finalist this year!); Debra Grace, of Grace Manor Restaurant; and Todd Kliman, Washingtonian magazine's food and wine editor and author of the award-winning The Wild Vine, a story of the Norton grape. (And a James Beard Award winner!)
This should be fun! Whether your passion is Columbia Valley Riesling and Syrah, or Missouri Norton and Vidal, I hope to see you! And don't forget to follow Twitter tage #DLWMO.