Don't forget to spit: July wine conference promises to thrill

All eyes (and lips) will be on Virginia's wines when the North American Wine Bloggers Conference– focusing on wine writing, new media, wine, travel and food– comes to Charlottesville in July.

Over 300 wine bloggers, wine aficionados, and industry experts will gather at the Omni Hotel downtown for the fourth annual three-day conference. So don't be surprised if you see a lot of flush-faced happy people wandering up and down the Mall.

"When you’re tasting hundreds of wines in a three-day stretch, you really have to pace yourself. And spit," wrote a Seattle blogger who attended last year's conference. "Otherwise, you’ll be smashed by eleven in the morning." The blogger also described swirling so many glasses of wine– the thing to do to help it breathe– that he caught himself doing it with his water.

The conference features tours of local wineries, tastings, live wine blogging (during which wine critics Tweet as they taste), and keynote speeches by chief wine critic for the New York Times, Eric Asimov, and wine critic Jancis Robinson.

Last year's conference, held in Walla Walla, Washington, sold out quickly and brought major exposure and an increase in revenue to the city, and Charlottesville leaders are hoping to see the same

City mayor Dave Norris and Albemarle County spokesperson Lee Catlin were on hand at a June 21 press conference at the Omni to express their excitement that Charlottesville is hosting the conference.

"This will give us a chance to show off the work of our local wineries," Norris said.

The conference takes place July 22-24. Visit the conference website at

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