Wednesday, January 13, 2016

TasteCamp 2016: Vermont Bound!

Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is the leading producer of maple syrup in the country. It is also well known for its dairy farms, cheese and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. In the winter, it is well known for its fabulous ski trails while in the fall, leaf peeping is extremely popular. However, its alcohol industry is much less known, except maybe for the crazily popular and hard to find Heady Topper beer. It is well past time that the rest of Vermont's alcohol industry becomes better known, from its wines to its spirits.

Since 2009, I've written a number of articles and reviews of Vermont wine, cider and spirits and this year will see plenty of additional coverage. In prior year's, I've attended the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival which not only offered an abundance of cheese but also presented some of the wines, ciders, beers and spirits of Vermont, from Boyden Valley Winery to Whistle Pig Distillery. Over the years, I've seen a clear improvement and evolution of their wines and spirits. There is less use of grapes from outside Vermont and the quality continues to improve.

As I mentioned last week, in the Spring I'll be spending a weekend exploring the wines, ciders, beers, Sake and spirits of Vermont, gaining a better understanding of the current status of their drinks industry. From June 3-5, I'll be attending TasteCamp 2016, which will be held this year in scenic Vermont. Approximately forty bloggers, writers and their guests will attend TasteCamp, tasting our way through Vermont. I've attended all but one of the previous TasteCamps (having missed one only because I was at the Kentucky Derby) and I expect the Vermont weekend to be as enjoyable as all the rest.

As in previous TasteCamps, we will meet a variety of producers, visit vineyards, taste dozens of wines, beers, ciders and spirits, dine on local foods and hold a fun BYOB dinner. With its limited size, this is a more intimate event, allowing you to get to know everyone in the group, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones too. You also get immersed in the region, gaining a better understanding of its drinks industry. When the weekend is over, numerous posts and articles about the attendees' experiences will be written, sharing their new found knowledge about Vermont.

Along with Lenn Thompson, Todd Trzaskos, and Remy Charest, I have helped to plan our itinerary and participants, which currently includes: la garagista farm + winery, Lincoln Peak Vineyard, Shelburne Vineyard, Fable Farm Cider, SILO Distillery, Vermont Spirits Distilling Co., Stonecutter Spirits, Shacksbury Cider, Putney Mountain Winery, Huntington River Vineyard, Prohibition Pig and Hill Farmstead Brewing. This list will continue to grow and be refined and the weekend should offer some of the best Vermont has to offer. There is even a new Sake brewery in Vermont, the Mercy Brewing Company, which I hope we can get to participate too.

If you would like to attend TasteCamp 2016, there is some limited space available, but you must be a writer or other wine trade professional. You can register here to reserve a spot and if you have any questions, please contact Lenn Thompson. If you are a Vermont producer of drinks or food and are interested in participating, you can comment on this post or contact Lenn.

Can't wait for Spring in Vermont!

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