Scholarship Recipiant: Justin Koury is the Wizard of Whisky (and so much more)

Justin Koury has spent his career in restaurants and wine retail and cares deeply about hospitality and customer care. Even better, he loves sharing what he knows. This desire to impart his own learning spurred him, in 2010, to create Grapevine Consulting, a website “dedicated to all things hedonist for gourmets, gluttons, fanatics and gourmands. This includes but is not limited to Wine, Whiskey, Beer, Gourmet food and Cigars.”

His regular blog articles and reviews in these areas, along with podcast interviews of winemakers, brewers, vendors, and restauranteurs has made Grapevine Consulting a go-to site for people passionate about the good things in life. “That is why I review cigars, food, and drink: So that my friends and readers can avoid disappointment, and go straight for the good stuff!”

A recent transplant to California from the Midwest, WBC2015 is Justin’s first. Here’s hoping it won’t be his last!

Please stop by and say hi

The Blog:  Grapevine Consulting

On Twitter:  wizardofwhisky

At Facebook:  Justin.Koury.5

 

Scholarship Recipiant: Mykhael Wilson is the PUrveyor of Happiness

10660252_10154676417435537_3760445843687845241_nIt was a fateful day in May of 2003 when Mykha’el had his first sip of wine.  He was soon to be 21 (what a rebel!) and a friend opened a Chianti Classico for a pasta dinner.  It was love at first sip.

“I have always had an appreciation for the relational and celebratory  aspects of wine and quickly became obsessed with how there is always something more to learn about wine.  I love that is it living and continues to evolve.”

Mykha’el worked in the wine industry doing back office phone and e-mail sales and had the opportunity to take place in blending trials for various wineries he worked with.  His blog, www.purveyorofhappiness.me  is so named because he felt he was selling clients happiness in a bottle.

“I am thrilled to be able to attend this year’s Wine Blogger’s Conference as I just moved to upstate New York and am excited to explore the Finger Lakes with fellow bloggers.  I am also grateful for the generosity of those that are allowing me to go”.  This will be Mykha’el’s first WBC and he is very excited to be attending the conference in his backyard.

Please stop by and say hi at:

Blog:  Purveyor of Happiness
Twitter:  @mykhael

Facebook:  mykhael.wilson.9

 

 

Scholarship Recipient: Christine Havens

Christine Havens considers herself an emerging writer, and loves to keep a pulse on what the current industry trends are.  This includes digital channels, and specifically wine apps.  With her background in winemaking background, and her globetrotting wine tasting adventures, she is currently waiting her WSET Level 3 exam results (im)patiently.

Her blog, Christine Havens, is both an extension of her Vivino wine reviews, as well as a place to feature some fantastic recipes.  She has been writing for the last two years, and is the #1 Vivino user in followers!  That is not an easy feat with millions of users worldwide.

She is excited to travel tot he Finger Lakes this August for her first Wine Bloggers Conference, and to experience a wine region she is unfamiliar with.  Let’s show her how the Finger Lakes can do more than Riesling, and give her a warm welcome!

You can follow Christine on:
Blog:  Christine Havens,
Twitter:  MsCMHavens
Facebook:  Christine.Havens

Instagram:  ChristineHavens

Scholarship Recipient: Matt McGinnis

Matt McGinnis wants to know What You Are Drinking!  Writing for the last 5 years, he continually strives to improve the quality of his blog and is excited to be joining us in the Finger Lakes for the Wine Blogger’s Conference.  His blog, What Are You Drinking, explores the everyday adventures of life, paired with delicious drinks.  Matt likes to dive in to the people along with the drinks, and spends a great deal of time interviewing brewers, distillers, and wine makers to share with his readers.

Matt is also a Certified Sommelier, and often judges beverage competitions.  Recognized as a Top 10 Food Blogger in 2013 and 2014 by the Austin Chronicle, we are lucky to have Matt join us in the Finger Lakes!  As a self-employed consultant (hrmm sounds familiar), he is excited to be selected as the Rodney Strong Vineyards Wine Blogger Scholarship winner of 2015, which will enabled him to join us for the Wine Bloggers Conference.

A prolific writer & contributor to several online publications, Matt gets around town and has really made a name for himself over the last 280 blog posts (5 years).  I look forward to reading more and meeting him in person in August!

Please stop by and say hi to Matt!

Blog:  What You Are Drinking!

Twitter:  MattMcGinnis

Facebook:  WhatRUDrinking

 

Coming up next:  Meet Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Robert Larsen and Laura Perret, the dynamic duo behind the Rodney Strong Wine Blogger Scholarship!

 

 

 

Blogger Profile: Valerie Stride demystifies wine

valerie stride

Valerie Stride has one simple goal for her site – to unlock the mystery of the wine world – especially the wines of British Columbia.  Her blog The Demystified Vine! focuses on teaching her readers about wine, wineries in British Columbia and to use her WSET certification to educate others.  Her blog is meant to unleash a new understanding about wine and all its beauty, but also allow more appreciation to grow for those who are curious.

She’s a fellow wine enthusiast and works for a local winery out of the Similkameen Valley in British Columbia and is focused on enhancing the consumer experience.  She’s witty, she’s fun, she’s knowledgeable so please stop by and say hello on Twitter, and Facebook!

This is Valerie’s second Wine Blogger’s Conference and we look forward to seeing her in Buellton!

 

Blogger Profile: Peter Nowack wants to be YOUR bung cooper!

10013823_10204019393827803_73961657891477687_nPeter Nowack is a man in search for the smaller wine producers. Peter prefers to make his way past the tchotchkes of tasting rooms’ flar, and the grocery store end-caps. His interest is to meet the families behind the label, and learn about their story. Peter is not interested in rating wines, but rather sharing intriguing, and thought provoking wine country stories for those who’s livelihood is based upon wine.

Offering a glimpse at the people behind the scenes, the Bungrcooper digs in to the small production winery scene, where winemakers & owners are the brand.

Read more about this year’s scholarship recipient – Peter Nowack, at Bungrcooper.

 

 

Josh likes to sherry his wine! Bloggership Recipient – Josh Decolongon

Joshua DecolongonJoshua Decolongon is self described as “clunky” (he failed at hip hop lessons) and “corked” (yes, he loves his wine).  Hailing from British Columbia, Josh had his first bottle of wine, a Burrowing Owl Syrah (from last year’s WBC host location, the Okanagan Valley), on his 19th birthday.  Luckily for Josh, the legal drinking age in Canada is 18 and he didn’t have to wait until he was 21 like we do!

Now, at the ripe old age of 22, he is a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), leads the university’s Wine Tasting Club, has passed the WSET Advanced Level with Distinction, and is pursuing the WSET Diploma while prepping for the Certified Sommelier exam. Whew! Needless to say, wine and coffee are his two best friends.  Josh’s blog, Josh Likes Wine, is terrific and I love his humorous, engaging writing style.  In fact, I’m looking forward to hanging out with Josh at WBC…as long as he doesn’t call me Sherry

Please stop by and say hi to him on twitter, and check out his blog!  Be sure to spot the Scholarship Recipients at the conference (they will be wearing teal name badge ribbons that say…Scholarship Recipient) and introduce yourself too.

Editor’s Note:  I am super excited to welcome Josh to his first WBC.  The amazing accomplishments he has at his young age really represent what we want to attract, both at the conference, as a Scholarship Applicant, and in to the blogging community as a whole.  I truely enjoy is irreverent, fun, unique writing style, and know he will make Buellton a fabulous conference!  -Thea

Blogger Recipient: Alex Down

 Alex Down is The Riesling Revolutionary!  With a passion for Riesling, the thrilling balance of acidity, complex citrusy flavors and ability to respond to vineyard character really makes Alex’s passion come alive.

He has a particular passion for German Riesling, where he first stumbled upon this magical grape variety.

Alex strives to help wine lovers in the UK understand Riesling, spreading the Riesling gospel, one post at a time.

This will be Alex’s first Wine Bloggers Conference, and as he spends a lot of time evangelizing wine in the UK, he is looking forward to sharing notes about his favorite wines with wine lovers from around the world.  He is also looking forward to trying some delicious Riesling from the US, and expanding his knowledge to include California Riesling from our host region of Santa Barbara County.

We look forward to seeing you in Buellton Alex!

Please stop by and say hello to him at @AlexDownWine on twitter!

Make Them Pay!

With only 63 days left until the 8th annual Wine Bloggers Conference convenes in Buellton, CA, we are still working to make our goal of getting as many wine bloggers there as possible through our Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Fund.  As always, there are too many applicants and not enough  funds, but through our Third Annual #MakeThemPay campaign, I hope to change that!


Formerly known as #MakeTomPay, this challenge grant was an idea born of a need for last minute donations to get those applicants approved and on their way to the WBC.  Now in it’s third year, the winning team of Tom Wark, of Fermentation, and Amy Anderson Gross, of Wine4.me have one again combined forces to really blow things out of the water!

Veteran of the wine industry, PR pro and blogger Tom Wark challenged us to raise as much money in the last week of applications as possible.  As such, he will match that donation up to $500.  So you know how this works, it’s a PBS Challenge Grant!  You give $50, he gives $50, and you get a groovy pledge gift (see awesome wine glasses).

But, there’s more!  Amy, who has now created a new wine app called Wine4Me, has challenged the challenge.  If we get our $500, and Tom gives his $500, Amy and Wine4Me will give us another $500!  So you see the new math here:  $500 = $1500.

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So now is the time!  If you were at all considering donating to the Scholarship, which by the way is a 501c tax deductible donation through our partner Enobytes, now is the time!  Triple the funding you can provide with #MakeThemPay!

This will be Amy’s third WBC, and the first as Wine4.Me.  This new app takes the guesswork out of buying wine, using objective characterization by industry-tested wine evaluators (including some of our very own wine bloggers), sensory science and a patent-pending personal preference algorithm..  There are literally hundreds of wine apps out there but I think this one might be something special.  I can’t wait to test it out myself!  Make sure you stop by and find Wine4.Me’s posse in Buellton.

Tom is a veteran of all 7 previous WBCs and is always a great conversationalist about the state of the industry.  the small group that has earned his Veteran badge ribbon.  We are down to 6 in this illustrious crew, and Tom is a great memeber of that team.  Make sure you ask him aobut how he feels about wine laws!

Donate today via this handy paypal link, and make sure add the memo “Make Them Pay up!” so we can keep track.  You can keep track of our progress with the handy thermometer on the right hand sidebar of the blog.

Thanks for your support!

Bring it people!

Editor’s Note:  At time of press, we have exceeded our highest exceptions.  We have already raised $720 since last night!  What do you say, can we make it $1000?

 

Recipient Profile: Kovas Palubinskas

NEWBIE! We are pleased to welcome Kovas Palubinkas (fresh meat) to the 2013 WBC in Penticton. Kovas writes 50 States of Wine and has been at it since 2011, however, this will be his very first WBC. 50 States of Wine focuses on attempting to, at a bare minimum, taste a wine from each of the 50 states. Kovas would eventually like to travel to a winery in every state, but will settle for just a taste, if need be.

An interesting goal to say the least! He should be able to knock out several states at the WBC as folks are always bringing unique things from their home states. I’ve had a wine from Indiana and a Dandelion wine from NH while in attendance, so all things are possible. Be sure to check out Kovas’ blog and give him a hearty welcome to the WBC. (I can’t find a photo of him, but will be happy to add one if it is provided!)

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