Our Trip to the 2016 Home Winemaking Conference in California

We always enjoy our trips to the WineMaker Magazine Conference. This year, with the home winemaking conference in Santa Rosa, CA, we were excited to have a chance to explore more of California’s wine country. It was our first trip to the area. (Can you believe it?) We took a few extra days and spent some time in Napa, Suisun Valley, Lodi, and Sonoma. Of course, it wasn’t long enough to fully enjoy the area, but we did our best!

Wine Tasting in California

1992 & 2012 Cabs at Clos Duval Winery

One of the first things we noticed was that the “California Style” wines we were used to drinking at home were not necessarily representative of California wine making. We quickly found out that there are as many styles as there are winemakers and grapes.

Another thing we discovered was that many California wines are higher in alcohol than what we’re used to! All of the wines we tasted, both reds and whites, were 14% to 15% (and probably higher). Those big alcohol wines affected our palates pretty fast. We did realize that with proper snacks and water, though, we could manage a full tasting day.

Finally, we noticed that winemakers in the Napa area just don’t seem to make bad wine. Ever. It’s true…

The 2016 WineMaker Magazine Conference

After a few days of enjoying some of the finest wines the region had to offer, we made our way over to Santa Rosa for the conference.

Home Winemaking Conference With Winemaker Daniel Pambianchi

With Winemaker Daniel Pambianchi

This was our 5th year sponsoring the WineMaker Magazine Conference. It was great seeing old friends again, as well as meeting new ones. We got to talk with many of our customers in person, see their labels on bottles, and taste their wines. Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourselves! It’s always a treat to meet you in person, and see your labels in action.

With Winemaker Mike Rinker

With Winemaker Mike Rinker

In addition, the home winemaking conference is a great place to pick up new wine making tips, and checking out the latest supplies and equipment available from the other conference sponsors. We came home with some new toys, and lots of ideas for wines we want to make in the future.

International Amateur Wine Competition

Finally, we want to congratulate all the winners of the 2016 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition! The awards dinner is always a fun way to finish off the conference. This year was especially nice for us… we were honored to win our first medal, a Bronze, for our 2013 Mojito wine.

Home Winemaking Conference Award for Noontime Labels

Award-Winning Winemakers!

It was great seeing everyone there, and we’re looking forward to next year’s home winemaking conference at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

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