Monday, April 22, 2013

Best Places to Eat, Drink and Stay in Istria

Istria, located in the northwest corner of Croatia, is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic. With pristine beaches, small coastal villages and dramatic inland hilltop towns, the region is rich with gastronomic delights from plentiful seafood and wild asparagus to world-class truffles and olive oils. Plus, it’s home to an emerging world-class wine scene. For your next trip to the region, we’ve gathered some of the best places to eat, drink and stay.


NOTE: Stay tuned for my 4-Part Istria Series with expanded coverage on the special places, talented chefs, incredible food, wines and winemakers, in a true dream destination for wine tourism-- Croatia.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spending 2 Perfect Days in Zagreb

This post first appeared on Forbes Travel Guide

The compact historic center of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is easy to explore on foot, and this itinerary will give you a taste of the lively culture and splendid food and wine in 48 hours without feeling rushed.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Five Blogs by Chicks That Really Click

Recently Lettie Teague wrote an article in the WSJ called “Five Blogs I Really Click With”— but none of the five she clicked with were written by women. {Although she did cite wine writer Alice Feiring as a blogger she reads on a regular basis.}

Ms. Teague’s desire was to find bloggers with talent and passion and a “genuine curiosity and interesting point of view”--I look for that too. Blogs that interest me are usually personal stories of bloggers who have something to say beyond what’s in the glass, on the nose and the palate. Wine blogs are non-required reading, no one MUST read a wine blog. In order to attract readers blogs must inform or entertain--preferably both. And it's the writing style of story or a post that makes it compelling, not the content alone.

So why can’t Lettie find a few good women wine bloggers who meet her criteria? Do they lack passion? I don’t think so.

In the article, she spoke with Allan Wright, of Zephyr Adventures, who organizes the annual Wine Bloggers Conference and had recently conducted a survey about the "State of Wine Blogging".  Over 83% of the bloggers surveyed cited “passion” as the reason for writing their blogs. But I think that’s due in part to the fact passion was the only reasonable option to select in the limited multiple-choice survey. {Incidentally, I think passion is so over used it’s become a buzzword without value that should be retired for a few years to let it air out.}

To be honest, I find the majority of “popular award-winning” wine blogs written by men to be tedious and trying too hard to replicate MSM content with regurgitated industry news posts and wine reviews that are just plain boring. Alder Yarrow is mentioned as a monetary success for his blog Vinography, but frankly, I think Alder’s most interesting work is under the “rants” section not reviews.

I mainly read wine blogs by people I have met in person or from links in tweets that I happen to see on the fly. I don’t do Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkendIn, or any other social media poison. My blog is most likely not read by fellow wine bloggers unless I happen to catch their attention with a well-timed tweet. My core readers are mostly wine tourists or travelers looking for information on wineries, lodging and restaurants in wine regions and entered search parameters that delivered them to my blog doorstep. I’m pretty sure they don’t care how I rate a wine and that’s good because I don’t give out stars or points or any other kind of ratings crap. I merely describe how I experienced a wine or food pairing for me, myself and I. If you can glean some value out of that--good for you.

Fortunately, many women wine bloggers take a more generous approach than I and provide plenty of great content for those interested in the world wide web of wine.

Here are my selections for Five Blogs by Chicks That Really Click. Perhaps Lettie will take a look when she recovers from her wine blog research overload.

1. Gwen Alley-- For sheer prolific output and interesting angles I like Gwen’s two blogs-- Art Predator and Wine Predator.

2. Madeline Puckette-- Wine Folly is wonderful fun for novices and experienced wine aficionados alike. It’s not a solo effort, but who cares.

3. Meg Houston Maker – Makers Table is Meg’s wine blog, but her eponymous blog is equally interesting filled with linguistic high wire acts that I find thrilling but sometimes feel show-offy. Yes, I just made up a word.

4. Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka –Wakawaka Wine Reviews offers tasting notes wrapped around a narrative about the winemaker and vineyards. But mostly I like visiting the blog for her cool little drawings.

5. Thea Dwelle -- Luscious Lushes delivers a high–octane romp of posts that are informative and very enthusiastic.

Oh, and just in case you wondering what other types of wine bloggers Lettie may have come across in her search, here is a round up. What kind of wine blogger are you? Click here to find out.


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