Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wine Bloggers' Conference: The Existential Aftermath & a Quiz

This is my fourth attempt at writing this blog post. Yes, it's been about a month since the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference, but I needed some time to gather my thoughts. I'm an introvert – we do that. Also, Hubby and I went on vacation the week after the conference, and I enjoyed a week of geeking out about American colonial history and North Carolina wine, all of which will make for good posts for both blogs. And then, after a record busy week at work, we went to the beach!

Hubby and I noted in the car on the way to Williamsburg from Charlottesville that we were left with a sense of negativity that hadn't been present during or after the previous conference in Walla Walla, our first. Over the weeks since the conference ended, I've seen a lot of complaints, both about the event and the complainers themselves. To respond, I've decided to take keynote speaker Jancis Robinson's advice to heart and try to bring my unique perspective to the topic.

To this point, I've been somewhat secretive about my profession in my social media life, not because I don't want my fellow oenophiles to know what I do, but because I was trying to keep my professions separate. However, with what amounts to almost three jobs, it's gotten impossible. So, I'll out myself here and do a longer post later on the new direction of the Random Oenophile blog.

Hi, my pen name is Cecilia Dominic, and I'm a psychologist. Yep, I'm a full-blown, over a decade of higher education, achievment junkie, Ph.D.-level helper of the depressed, anxious, and sleepless. I spend my days asking probing questions (but not literally probing – eww!) to help people clarify their thoughts, attitudes, and problems.

So this is where I'd planned to pose some of the probing questions I'd come up with, but really, who wants to read another thoughtful WBC11 post? Consequently, I've already decided to put aside the serious part of my profession and come up with a little women's magazine-style quiz to help you figure out what kind of wine bloggers' conference attendee you were: wino, oenophile, wineaux, or whino/drama queen?

1. When I heard the wine bloggers' conference would be in Virginia this year, I thought…
a. They make wine on the East Coast?
b. Yay! Something new and different.
c. I'll be able to score some good Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and Viognier.
d. They make drinkable wine on the East Coast outside of New York?

2. The sponsors' reception on Friday was…
a. Lots of free wine.
b. A great chance to catch up with people and introduce myself to Twitter friends, and oh, crap, we were supposed to get lunch on our own???
c. A great chance to connect with industry people and score promises of samples.
d. A great chance to show off my tasting/slurping/spitting technique.

3. When I heard they'd continue with the Monticello reception in spite of the heat, I thought…
a. It'll be hot, but who cares? Free wine!
b. It'll be hot, but who cares? I get to drink wine at the house of the father of American wine. Cheers to you, T.J.!
c. It'll be hot, and I'm worried the wine won't show well.
d. What the hell are they thinking? It's never this hot where I'm from!

4. The relationship I have with the wine industry is…
a. Cordial. I hold out my glass, and they provide the filling.
b. Educated consumer.
c. Associated professional or wannabe associated professional.
d. My blog and opinions are so important that they bow to my whims.

5. The number of letters I have after my name is:
a. Who needs letters after their names to taste wine? I'm done with school!
b. Two or more, not wine-related.
c. Two or more, wine-related.
d. Sommelier counts as nine and an honorary doctorate.

6. I can't go wine tasting without my:
a. Woozie. They look cool.
b. Water and crackers.
c. Orange hipster glasses.
d. Foofy little dog.

7. To me, the number of sponsored events was…
a. Perfect. Free wine!
b. More than I would have cared for, but understandable considering they have to pay for the conference somehow. It's not supported by a professional organization, and registration fees are really low.
c. Just right. Show me the vino! I’m a thirsty catfish!
d. Excessive. Free wine, especially from the Southeast, can't really be that good.

8. My initial reaction to Eric Asimov's challenge to not write tasting notes was…
a. Good, I always skip them, anyway.
b. Relief. I always feel dirty when talking about mouthfeel.
c. Intrigue. Maybe we do need some different ways to talk about wine.
d. How can I sound like an expert if I can't reference flavors that most people have never had like cassis or lychee?

Scoring: Each (a) gets one point, (b) two points, (c) three points, and (d) four points. Add 'em up, and see where you fall below:

If you scored 8-12 points, you might be a virgin wine bloggers' conference attendee, or wino. Sure, you may have felt intimidated and over your head, but at this point, you're still flirting, and you can always go back to beer if you need to. You're also the person I 'm targeting on my blog, so please come back.

If you scored 13-20 points, you have gotten into wine, and you're in the first giddy stage of the relationship. You and wine have admitted you like each other, and now you're getting to know it. You're probably not comfortable with all the trappings and rituals like spitting, and you may snicker at the spitters behind their backs for wasting such wonderful stuff. You spend holidays hiding from family and friends who want wine recommendations because you're still low on confidence and afraid you'll screw up horribly with the wrong pairing. On the other hand, you've got enough of a knowledge base that you can really start looking into the parts that catch your interest, and you're not afraid to explore new regions or varietals.

If you scored 21-28 points, you're probably in the wineaux stage, and you've taken it to the next level. Yes, you and wine have moved in together or are talking seriously about it. Maybe you've gotten or are in hot pursuit of some wine-related letters after your name, and you might have even scored a job in the industry. You've started finding out the dark sides of being a wine lover, like maybe it squeezes the toothpaste from the middle or you spend holidays hiding from family and friends who want wine recommendations because it's starting to feel like a job.

If you scored 29-32 points, then you might be a whino/drama queen. Congratulations on your accomplishments, especially if you've made it all the way to sommelier level, but please try to remember that wine is just fermented grape juice, and everyone's taste is not yours. There is someone to love that little East Coast wine you snubbed for her uneducated accent, or "B" game, and let's not forget that hot weather makes for hot lovers. There has already been enough meta-whining (i.e., whining about the whining), so I'll just stop here.

Psychologist disclaimer: this quiz and its results have absolutely no psychometric properties, validation, reliability, or validity.

Please feel free to comment with your score or any other feedback!


VA Wine Diva said...

Thankfully I scored in category 2! Mad props to you for coming up with this. ...and we psychologists need to stick together - even if you're one of.those clinical types ;-)

Southern Wine Trails said...

aah, i'm a wineaux, but we already knew that from my many sessions on the couch. My couch with a glass of wine, I mean.

love this, and looking forward to seeing where the blog takes you.

cheers, little sister!


Cecilia Dominic said...

Hey, we clinical types aren't that bad! ;) Yep, I'm firmly in category 2 as well, but I don't know if I count toward the end distribution since I wrote the quiz.

Tammy, thanks for stopping by and your comment and RT! I've already had a lot of ideas since I decided on my new direction, the problem is, as always, time. Perhaps I just need to drink on it more...

Frank said...

Yet another item on my 'Why Didn't I Think of This' list. Clever.

The quiz is clearly broken - I see no score zone for WBC Wine Demigod. ;)

Interesting about your post-WBC feelings relative to Walla Walla. Happens.

Raelinn said...

Wineaux here! So fun!! Cheers!

Joe said...

Wineaux. Winaught?

Cecilia Dominic said...

Frank, I can't help but notice that you didn't tell us your score. Perhaps you got around the scoring and are a wine demigod? ;)

Thanks, Raelinn and Joe, for stopping by! Looks like the wineaux are winning.