"Discover Monticello" : The Secret’s Out!

Hello Friends,

When I first started planning “Discover Monticello”, the first ever Virginia wine tasting event held on the Twitter Taste-Live platform, I felt the results would be very positive. That said,  my pretty high expectations were far exceeded by the overwhelming show of support and steady stream of honest and positive comments (tweets) about the six Monticello AVA grown wines tasted. If I had to sum the tasting event up in one word, it would be “extraordinary”! As a wine enthusiast who swirls, sniffs, and sips wines of the world alongside Virginia wine, there was no doubt in my mind that Virginia wine could hold its own in terms of wine quality. I bring this up because when planning a first time event with the high visibility of Twitter Taste-Live, one might consider it a slight risk to have wine bloggers and tasters participate who are not familiar with Virginia wine. But that’s exactly what I wanted for this event – a good mixture of ½ and ½ - a blend, so to speak, of people familiar with Virginia wine as well as people discovering Virginia wine for the very first time. We were not necessarily looking for fans of Virginia wine. Instead, we were looking for genuine wine lovers who know good wines and could share an honest and open opinion. At the end of the day, I felt the wines could stand on their own merits and capture the palates and interest of the participants. In that process we hoped to recruit a few new Virginia wine fans. And guess what? It worked!

"Discover Monticello" Wine Lineup

Virginia wines are generally more European in style and typically defined by balance, brightness, and moderate alcohol levels. Virginia red and white wines are very food friendly and also sip nicely on their own. For a number of event participants, “Discover Monticello” was their introduction into Virginia wine, and judging by the positive and glowing tweets, it will not be their last. A few out-of-state participants were already tweeting about planning their next trip to Monticello wine country. "Discover Monticello" was a great way to close out what has been an exciting and successful Virginia wine month. Aptly named by the Virginia Wine Board, the 2010 Virginia wine month theme – “Discover Your Local Crush,” had so much meaning to the Taste-Live event, because that’s exactly what took place on 10/25 – panelists, non-panelists, wine bloggers, and average consumers, discovered their local crush - and it didn't hurt that the crush was on Virginia wine! There were people I noted that only had one or two of the wines and signed up on Taste-Live solely to be a part of this ‘Twitterrific’ tasting event. There were also people who just had a great time following the tweets – and there was oodles of them – over 140 pages worth! Additionally, during the event, “Viognier” became a trending topic on Twitter and the event was picked up by a local Charlottesville news station (CBS19) who recorded at Mountfair Vineyard’s tasting room. How cool is that! "Discover Monticello" was a night of firsts on many levels that will long be remembered. Through social media one of Virginia’s best kept secrets is slowly being uncorked and unscrewed and shared with people all across our great land. Such a tasting event couldn’t happen without the support of Annette Boyd and Amy Ciarametaro of the Virginia Wine Marketing Office and Cailyn and Joel of Taste-Live. I extend a big “Thank You” to you ladies and gent as well as the wonderful panel of wine bloggerswho participated. These social media savvy wine writers blog as an outlet, a hobby, and a passion -- all in the name of good wine and they pursue it like it's a full-time job!

"Discover Your Local Crush..."

The true shining stars, and there are six of them,are the small family-owned and operated Monticello farm wineries who took a chance on my wild-eyed idea to put on the first ever Virginia wine Taste-Live event in celebration of Virginia wine month. These ladies and gentlemen, farmers and business people, work hard year-round to grow the best possible fruit and craft limited quantities of premium wines reflective of the state’s varying growing seasons. I extend a grateful tip of the hat to each of you and a sincere “Thank You” for sharing your bottled efforts with us. Follow these producers on Twitter (see below along with a few tweets), visit their beautiful tasting rooms, and enjoy their delicious Monticello grown wines! Plan a weekend trip to the Monticello Wine Trail and enjoy its historic sites, natural beauty, fine dining establishments, B&B’s, and over twenty award-winning wineries. I don’t think Jefferson would have it any other way!

The Six Stars of the "Discover Monticello" Taste-Live Show

LINK: Afton Mountain Vineyard  Twitter Account: @AftonMountain
Wine: 2009 Gewürztraminer
  • MichaelGortonJr ~ The lime finish on the Gewurzt has me making this my favorite of the night so far.
  • elizabethdehoff ~ More #vawine makers should try Gewurz if their efforts will turn out anything like @aftonmountain's did. Delish!
  • WineReview ~ 09 Afton Mtn Gewurztraminer #VA a perfect food wine the acidity in each sip makes each bite of food a new tasting delight!

LINK: Blenheim Vineyard Twitter Account: @BlenheimWines
Wine: 2009 Seven Oaks Merlot
  • SwirlGirls ~ Somebody stop her! @swirlgirldry is sticking her nose into the merlot! And she's smiling!
  • Unemployed_Mom ~ Loved the Blenheim merlot. As tasty as I remember from my visit about a year ago! When I think of a VA merlot, this defines it!
  • creativefurnace ~ Now that this Blenheim Merlot has had a chance to open up, it's becoming luscious. Really impressive!

LINK: Jefferson Vineyards Twitter Account: @th_jefferson
Wine: 2009 Reserve Chardonnay
  • TheOther46 ~ Reserve Chardonnay... Green apple, just enough oak, hint of spice, pear, and vanilla
  • SuzieLin ~ Delicious! A surprise for me being that I'm not a Chardonnay fan but enjoying the 09 @th_jefferson Res. Chard.
  • RobBralow ~ Finding apple, cinnamon, pear, and maybe some clove on the nose of this Chardonnay. Very pleasant to smell.

LINK: Keswick Vineyard Twitter Account: @keswickvineyard
Wine: 2009 Viognier

  • WineReview ~ 09 Keswick Vineyard Viognier #VA a knock out! perfect fruit balance terrific food wine asian to turkey you will win w/this wine
  • amateurwino ~ This viognier is a different take on the variety than I've gotten from Rhone or CA wines, I appreciate the uniqueness.
  • robwineconsigliere ~ It is delicious. I did not know about VA Viogniers until now!

LINK: Kluge Estate Twitter Account: @KlugeEstate
Wine: 2007 SP Rosé

  • myvinespot ~ I keep hearing, "the Kluge Estate SP 07 is growing on me!"
  • WineReview ~ 07 Kluge Brut Rose #VA great flavors crisp I got some raspberry notes at first but now get lots of bread and mineral notes.
  • vawinetime ~ Kluge Estate 2007 SP Rosé-Pale pink color, lively bubbles, some bread on the nose, tart apple and maybe strawberry.

LINK: Mountfair Vineyards TwitterAccount: @MfVvinotweets
Wine: 2008 Wooloomooloo (Petit Verdot based blend)

  • WineReview ~ 08 Mountfair Wooloomooloo Blend #VA #wine this wine it is like a SOPHISTICATED lady it dosn't have 2 show off it knows its great.
  • SwirlGirls ~ Oh my! This is an excellent way to finish an evening! Very ripe and juicy.Sink into this wine and leave me alone for a night
  • swirlgirldry ~ Shout out to @mountfair Wooloomooloo. My fave from #vawine #ttl - funny name but serious juice. Best proof of the night that vawine contends.

"Discover Monticello" Posts

The Unemployed Mom ~ Monticello Wine Trail TasteLive

Travel, Eat, Love ~ Virginia is for (Wine) Lovers

Virginia Wine Time ~ Taste Live Event

Local C-Ville News CBS19 Coverage ~ at Mountfair Vineyard

WineCompass ~ Discover Virginia Wine (The Monticello Trail)

Running Wine Girl ~ Great Wines, Great Friends, Twitter Gathering

The Other 46 ~ Discover Monticello

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