Wine bloggers tasted their way around the region this week, though there was not a drop to drink at a Saturday morning breakfast in Penticton.
But the absence of wine at the Gyro Park event, which kicked off the final day of the 2013 North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference, had more to do with legalities than sour stomachs.
“Wine can be appropriate for breakfast,” confirmed Peter Bourget, a computer programmer from Stockton, Calif., who writes the Pull That Cork blog with his wife, Nancy.
“Sparkling wines work really good for breakfast because they’re kind of light and usually low-alcohol, so you can have a little and not end up going back to sleep for the rest of the morning or something like that,” he said.
Bourget is one of about 240 wine bloggers who arrived Thursday in Penticton for the conference, which combines tastes of Okanagan food and wine with workshops focused on technology that they can use to share their passion with the world.
Allison Markin, one of the event organizers, said she considered seeking a liquor licence for the breakfast, but it just wasn’t feasible.
“Legally, what we would have to do is fence off the area, make sure that there was an admission gate… make sure the only people coming in are bloggers, no kids underage or things like that,” she explained.
“Licensing an outdoor event in British Columbia is a challenge. An unbelievable challenge.”
Markin has no doubt the bloggers would have sipped a little with their first meals of the day.
“They are hardcore,” she said. But “many of them were up until 2 or 3 (a.m.) eating, drinking and tweeting, so it’s probably a good thing we don’t have alcohol this morning because they got a lot yesterday.”
About three quarters of the conference attendees are American, Markin estimated, and they seem to have enjoyed themselves.
“You never know how an event is going to go off until you’re in the middle of it, but I’ve been watching the Twitter traffic… and I can honestly say the feedback on Twitter is probably the most positive of any conference I’ve been to. And a lot of that has to do with our scenery and our location.”
Debora Podurgiel, a Vancouver-based blogger, has visited the Okanagan plenty, but was interested in some of the social media workshops offered at the conference.
And she, too, agreed that wine can be part of a complete breakfast.
“Of course. And if you’re a big brunch person, you’ve tasted everything from sauvignon blanc to cabernet sauvignon. You’ve probably had a little bit of everything, and certainly a little bit of bubbly,” Podurgiel said.
Experience and moderation, however, form a key part of her strategy to stay fresh through three days of wine conferencing.
“You get used to it,” Podurgiel said. “And you do a lot of spitting, because you only have one liver, so basically you do a lot of (just) tasting.”