By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor
The organizers of TasteCamp are gearing up for an exciting weekend of wine discovery that will bring some 40 bloggers and writers from all over the United States and Canada to Loudoun County and Northern Virginia, May 4-6, 2012. The program for the weekend has steadily taking shape over the past few weeks, with some great additions to the three-day experience now confirmed.
A Great Finish at Linden
The weekend’s final vineyard visit, on Sunday morning, will almost be worth the trip in itself: Linden Vineyards. As Jancis Robinson put it in a recent article in the Financial Times: "A key figure in raising standards in Virginia grape growing... and winemaking has been Jim Law of Linden Vineyards, whose wines have been exceptional almost from when he started in the 1980s." It’s an honor that Jim Law agreed to host the TasteCamp group and provide a true idea of what Virginia is capable of.
Vineyard walks at Fabbioli and Tranquility
Vineyard walks – a great opportunity to understand where the wines of a region are coming from – have always been an essential part of TasteCamp. This year’s program features two walks that will showcase some of the most interesting grape growing spots in Northern Virginia.
On Saturday morning, TasteCamp participants will get to know another solid example of Northern Virginia wine, Fabbioli Cellars. Winemaker Doug Fabbioli will be showing the group around his vineyards and winery, where he produces Bordeaux varieties, but also sangiovese and tannat, as well as a selection of fruit wines.
On Saturday afternoon, the group will visit Tranquility Vineyard, a 7-acre property in Purcellville that provides fruit for several local producers. Ben Renshaw, winemaker/owner of 8 Chains North winery, will lead the group on a vineyard walk and tasting.
Grand tastings at Boxwood and Tarara
TasteCamp will also offer a wider-ranging look at the diversity of Virginia wines, thanks to two grand tastings presented at Boxwood Winery (Friday) and Tarara Winery (Saturday). Some of
the best producers in Virginia have confirmed their presence, including Blenheim, Barboursville,
Hume, Ankida, Veritas and Corcoran.
There are still spots open for the grand tastings. Wineries interested in participating should contact Frank Morgan or Lenn Thompson.
A laid-back Southern-style BYO
The always-fun BYO dinner, a Saturday night tradition at TasteCamp, will benefit from a laid- back, relaxed, Southern-style setting and menu. Organized in collaboration with Visit Loudoun, the dinner will take place at a great location, North Gate Vineyard, with catering by Smokin Willy, a well-known Virginia BBQ provider. All at a very nice price, too!
Essential Virginia partners
TasteCamp is also proud to count on several other great partners, starting with three host wineries: Breaux Vineyards, Boxwood Winery and Tarara Winery. Two key regional organizations are also on board: The Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office (Virginia Wine) and the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association (Visit Loudoun) who are offering logistical, financial and/or transportation support.
TasteCampers will be staying at the National Conference Center, in Leesburg, Virginia, a conveniently-located facility that is offering a special rate for event participants.
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.