The 2012 Drink Local Wine conference is now upon us. Wine and food media personalities from around the country are beginning to descend on Denver starting today! Activities include three media tours to wineries around the state, a media welcome dinner at the Governor's Residence at the Boettcher Mansion, three seminars featuring some of the top names in Colorado and regional wine, and the Nomacorc Twitter Taste-off with two dozen wineries pouring their best wines for media and the public alike to taste and tweet. After all of the Drink Local Wine festivities are complete, a few chosen tasters will stick around and judge at the Colorado Governor's Cup winemaking competition. The award-winning wines will be presented at a special tasting at the Governor's Residence on June 7, just days before the Colorado Urban Winefest in Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on June 9. The next few weeks are going to be a busy time for the Colorado wine industry, but I think all this effort is going to pay off. People from around the country are finally going to see what Colorado wine has to offer.
In fact, one of the DLW media guests, Joe Roberts of 1WineDude.com and Playboy.com, penned a prologue to his experience at DLW. His main thesis was that he has low expectations for Colorado wine, but that he is not going to let his preconceived notion get in the way of fairly judging the local juice in the same way that he does wine from the world's major wine regions. He "firmly believe[s] that part of that encouragement is being brutally honest about the quality of each individual wine that crosses [his] lips when [he's] in critic mode." I commend him on this and hope that our local wineries are not offended if/when he pans some of their wines. Constructive criticism is something that I think some local vintners have a hard time accepting. All wineries, not just Colorado wineries, need to always seek ways to improve their wines, especially if they think that their wines are already great. As I've said before, there is no such thing as a perfect wine. If you're not always striving to improve, your beginning to fail.
That being said, I think Joe is going to be awesomely and pleasantly surprised. I think that the best of Colorado wine deserves to be in the same conversation with the best wines of the world. I've shown over and over again that when people have their preconceived notions about regional wine hidden by a brown bag they can see that Colorado's wineries can produce wine that is on the same quality level of wineries in Napa and Bordeaux. The Drink Local Wine conference is a small baby step in proving this to the rest of the world. I encourage all of my readers (my mom and my wife...) to raise a glass and celebrate local wine where ever you might be. And if you're in Colorado, I'd better see you at the Drink Local Wine conference this weekend and at the Colorado Urban Winefest June 9!