Gelber Muskateller from Gross in Steiermark (by Elisabeth); McWilliams Elisabeth Hunter Valley Semillon (by Brett); an Assyrtiko (by Lily); his own Bulgarian Chardonnay (by Ivo); Varonier Petite Arvine from Valais (by Claudia), Recioto di Valpolicella Amandorlata (by Elisabeta); a Bosnian Orange wine made from Zilavka (by Simon), Prince Stirbey Tamaoiasa Romaneasca (by Martin); Verdelho 10 years old from Henriques & Henriques (by Nico); MUS from Betuws Wijndomein (by me); Hoeve Nekum Riesling, another Dutch wine (by Ghislaine); a third Dutch wine, Kleine Schorre Pinot Gris (by Ingrid); a Bulgarian red blend of Mavrud and Rubin (by Mark Anthony, perhaps?), Quevedo 30 year old white port (by Oscar); Arbois Trusseau from Tissot (by a student of the Dijon Business School); Socré Barbaresco (by the wife of a Dijon student); Bründlmayer In Rot Zweigelt (by Karin); Vin Jaune (by Wink); a Portuguese Sparkling (by Ryan); co-fermented Roussanne- Marsanne from the Bulgarian-Serbian border (by Ewan).
An amazing assortment, right? This collection represents but a small part of the wines shared at a recent event I attended. Wines from all over the world, brought by people from all over the world.
I know of only one event where an orange wine from Bosnia can be experienced right after a Hunter Valley Semillon or a Dutch Riesling, a Madeira is brought by a Dutch guy and a Rumanian wine by an Englishman. And that is the BYOB party that is part of the Digital Wine Communications Conference, organized for the eighth year in a row by Vrazon. This year’s conference was held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from October 23 till 25, and was memorable, as always. Memorable for its location, in the ancient, beautifully restored town of Plovdiv. Memorable for the adversity with which it came about, in a time of economic and financial crises. But also memorable for the content, that seemed at first less attractive to me, but turned out to be just as inspiring as always, with several new ideas and insights to take home.
And especially memorable because of the BYOB event at an open-air bar near the Singing Fountains in one of Plovdiv’s many parks, green and amazingly full of fountains, statues and modern sculptures. More than at any other edition of the DWCC, I realized that this BYOB party is truly what it is all about: using a bottle of wine as a means to communicate with people. Meeting wine lovers from different countries, sharing a sip from their bottle, listening to their stories, hearing why they choose this or that wine. Was it the rain or the cold that evening? Was it the not so easy itinerary that everyone had to travel to arrive in Plovdiv? I really don’t know, but more than any other BYOB I have been to, this year’s event was truly about blending, perhaps not by chance also the theme of the conference. Not only blending in with new friends, but also with unknown people and unknown wines. Sharing stories, sharing ideas, sharing a glass. Conversations that opened up new views of the wide and intriguing world of wine, or continued where they left of at last year’s conference.
I cannot think of a better way to meet new people, and, equally important, to prepare for the actual conference, which took place the following two days. So thank you very much, Vrazon and City of Plovdiv, for a wonderful evening, at a lovely place. And for (another) good conference and (again) a year’s worth of inspiration. May a glass of wine be on your path always.