by Amy Gross, the Vine Sleuth
Blogging has brought many adventures to my life I never expected, and even a few once-in-a-lifetime-type things. This is actually my fourth blog to launch, and each blog has had its moments for inspiration and unique experiences. Some of those experiences, though, are more amazing than the others.
In 2010, I was at the Disney Social Media Moms conference at Walt Disney World when my friend’s ticket was drawn for a magical overnight stay in Cinderella’s Castle. (As a side note, it was also at that conference that the idea to launch this blog was born.)
Andrea, who won the spectacular grand prize, was kind enough to invite four other bloggers and ME to join her for the experience, which is something so unique, so special, that you cannot even buy it. That’s right, you can only win a stay in Cinderella’s Castle and all the ultra VIP treatment that goes along with it, and I was so super lucky enough to be along for the ride. (Squeeee!)
The six of us were totally giddy and giggly. I am not sure our guides knew how to handle us. Then, again, they are probably a bit used to it. We were told about one woman who kept fainting because she was so excited. After three times, the team knew to stand behind her when something extra special was about to happen.
If you want to know what happens behind the scenes and how the peeps at Disney tend to every single detail (and what Cinderella’s Castle is really like), click over to my family travel site, MomsTravelTales.com and read all about it. If you click over to read it, be sure to come back, as I’ve got more to share.
Weekend of Wines from around the World
In March, I felt like I won a very similar prize.
Gregory Dal Piaz of Snooth, a great resource for wine information with insightful wine writing and an active wine lovers’ community, and who hosts the Snooth People’s Voice Wine Awards, invited me to join him and 20 other bloggers for a weekend of wine seminars surrounding the People’s Voice Awards Grand Tasting in New York City.
“What??! Me???” I couldn’t help but think. Of course I jumped at the chance and responded to the invitation right away, hoping Gregory wouldn’t re-think the invitation and change his mind.
And then an email with the airline confirmation arrived and it looked like I really was invited and would get to go.
Really?? I didn’t faint, but I did start to feel like I was in a fairy tale. Manhattan? Wine? Amazing bloggers? And someone else was inviting me, flying me out, and hosting me? Are you kidding????
I wiggled a few things on my schedule, cut my attendance at Blissdom short (but made the most of it by planning a pre-Blissdom event with Rodney Strong—I like to bring wine to other bloggers, too), packed some fun dresses and boots, pulled out my wool coat and gloves, and headed for Manhattan. My head was spinning, and I was giddy again.
I checked the wine-packed schedule. There were some seminars planned on wines I knew absolutely nothing about, and some I knew a bit about.
Here’s a glimpse:
- Wines of Scarpa (Italy) Master Class
- Oregon Wine and Dinner at Peking Duck House
- Brazilian Wines Master Class
- Lunch with wines from Ribera del Duero (Spain) at Salinas Restaurant
- White Wines of Italy Master Class
- VIP Access to the People’s Voice Wine Awards Grand Tasting
- Wines of Austria Master Class
- South African Wine Pairing Lunch at the Institute of Culinary Education
- Wines of Rioja (Spain) Master Class
Then I checked out the list of my fellow bloggers and was blown away. Bloggers from each of these sites would also be there:
- Wine Folly
- Wine Hub
- Wine Julia
- Jameson Fink
- Wine Harlots
- RJ on Wine
- Reverse Wine Snob
- Wine by Benito
- Maker’s Table
- Brunello Bob
- Vineyard Adventures
- VIP Table
- Serious Eats
- Wannabe Wino
- Hip Tastes
- Vigneto Communications
“Really??! Me??!!” echoed in my head again.
How in the world was I on a list with those amazing bloggers? Those people know their stuff, and I’m most definitely a newbie. Gulp. How in the world would I measure up? I wasn’t sure. But I knew I was still in for a treat. And I most definitely was.
Sharing with You
How Andrea’s ticket was pulled and I got to join her and 5 friends for a VIP experience in Cinderella’s Castle, I’ll never know. It was Disney magic. And how or why Gregory of Snooth decided to invite me to a VIP weekend of wine learning, I don’t know, either. But I’m not questioning either one. I’m just going to accept, be thankful, enjoy and share with you.
Over the next few weeks I’ll fill you in on the wines I tasted, the information I learned, and the people I met. (And yes, I’ll even tell you where we found delicious Champagne at half price one evening when we were exploring Manhattan… and you thought we would have had enough wine with all of those seminars!! Wrong—there’s always room for bubbles!)
First up will be Wines of Scarpa later this week. And just like an overnight stay in Cinderella’s Castle, you cannot buy these wines in the US…at least not yet.