Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Summer Camp for Wine Lovers

It's summer. It feels like it, at least, even if the official start date is a few weeks off. The days are longer, and even though there are lots of activities this time of year (graduations? weddings? BBQs?) the pace of life seems slower. Vacations break up some of the tension at work, and with so many colleagues on vacation, too, I always find that I get more done in summer despite being in second or third gear. (classic summer camp picture from the Yorkland School)

To fill that time, you may want to jump into what I think of as "wine summer camp"--a series of online events that will connect you to a wider world of wine lovers, and encourage you to to visit a local winery or two in your own area (or in an area where you are already planning a vacation) to learn more about wine.

The first activity in Wine Summer Camp is Wine Blogging Wednesday, the long-running monthly tasting that Lenn Thompson of Lenndevours started a few years back. I'm hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday #46 next Wednesday (June 11, 2008) and we'll be tasting white Rhone varieties planted anywhere in the world. Check out my previous post for full details, instructions on where/how to post your tasting notes, and a list of resources. While you're at it, head over to the Wine Blogging Wednesday site and see if the voting has started for the event's new logo.

The second activity in Wine Summer Camp is the Wine Book Club, the online book club led by wine bloggers and readers. Today, Richard the Passionate Foodie posted his "Spin the Bottle" review of a terrific sake book to keep us motivated to finish George Taber's To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Bottle for the 3rd edition of the bi-monthly online Wine Book Club hosted by Lenn Thompson. We have until the end of the month to finish the book and post reactions to it on Shelfari, Facebook, the Wine Book Club site, or your own blog. Farley Walker of Behind the Vines will be the host of the July-August book club, so stay tuned the first week of July for the announcement of her title and look for another blogger "Spin the Bottle" review of a book that covers their area of expertise later that month when you've lost track of your good intentions.

With all that tasting and reading, you might be inspired to take "wine summer camp" on the road and visit some local wineries near your own home, or near where you are already planning your vacation. If you are looking for wineries in a particular location, check out the resources at AmericanWinery.com which has in-depth profiles of wineries from Alabama to Wyoming and most places in between along with tasting room hours and lists of current releases. Appellation America has an interactive map of the US that enables you to click on any state and get a list of appellations and the wineries who make wine there. No time to travel this summer? These two websites will enable you to be an armchair/computer traveler, and to learn about wineries all over America even if you can't pack a bag and hit the road.

Remember, it's summer so hang up your hammock, get some wine in the house, and start reading and sipping your way through the long, warm days to come. If you have any suggestions for more summer camp activities, leave them in the comments section below. Why should the kids have all the fun?


Jeff said...

Thanks for the mention! In the spirit of Wine Summer Camp and connecting to more wine lovers I would suggest the wine forums over at Chowhound as well. It's fun discussion and a chance to learn something new.

john witherspoon said...

Thanks for all the great "summer camp" activities. Even though i don't get summer break (oh how I miss that) i will be partaking in all 3 of these activities this summer.

VinquireThea said...

You know, I always did love Summer Camp, and now I can add yet another reason to enjoy summer wine-ing :-)
Our WBW is an interesting one this month. Stay tuned for our epic taste-a-thon, and thanks for the great Camp!

Dr. Debs said...

Jeff, thanks to you for the great site! And Thea, an epic taste-a-thon sounds terrific! I'm doing a duo of wines myself, but they are so delicious I wish I had a few more to try.