If you’ve been following My Wine Blog for awhile, you may notice things are a bit different today. Allow me to explain 1) the name change and 2) why you’ll want to stick around even if you’ve never been to Orlando.
What’s up with Orlando?
I’ve called Orlando, Florida home for well over a decade. For eight years, I reported on the city and the surrounding region as a journalist for Central Florida’s public radio station, WMFE. Over time, I’ve watched Orlando “grow up” – as a city and as a player in the world of food and wine.
If you’ve never been to the real Orlando – the place outside the theme parks – you probably laughed when you read that last sentence! But the fact is, this area, once known only for Disney World and chain restaurants, is now teeming with James Beard nominated chefs and sophisticated wine shops and bars.
A Curious & Welcoming Wine Scene
Central Florida is home to a burgeoning wine community, populated by enthusiastic young sommeliers and professionals, master somms and masters of wine, longtime collectors, and dedicated oenophiles. On any given week, there are more wine events here than one person could ever attend.
Orlando’s wine scene is defined by its open-mindedness, curiosity, and constant evolution. People here get more excited about an unusual and obscure wine than a prestige label or vintage. (Give me a sekt or a sparkling gruner veltliner over Veuve Clicquot any day!)
It’s also defined by its its propensity to welcome all comers rather than defend its stalwarts. It welcomed me – a complete industry outsider – with open arms, and as a result, I’ve learned from some of the most knowledgeable wine professionals anyone could hope to meet.
A somm friend once told me she loved working in Orlando because, instead of trying to fit into an established big-city wine scene, she was helping to create and shape one in Central Florida.
Coming Up in the Wine World
The wine world is starting to notice Orlando too.
In 2015, Wine Enthusiast named Orlando one of the Ten Best Wine Travel Destinations in the world, alongside Italy’s Piedmont region and France’s Rhone Valley. Our sommeliers are winning awards and turning heads in professional circles. And winemakers who once bypassed the area en route to Miami now stop to court Central Florida’s wine community.
Why Orlando Wine Blog?
Orlando’s wine scene is missing just one thing – an information source. Our region has several excellent restaurant and food blogs, and many great Orlando-based bloggers write about wine, but there’s nothing dedicated primarily to news, events, and people in the local wine community.
Throughout my career as a journalist (first as a newsroom leader and now as a consultant) I’ve preached the importance of localism. I decided it was time to take my own advice and fill that gap.
So today, My Wine Blog becomes Orlando Wine Blog.
I’ve created an events page with information on upcoming tastings, classes, and dinners; I’ll continue to recount my experiences discovering new wines and meeting winemakers; and soon, I plan to start profiling wine people and venues around the area.
Not from Orlando? That’s ok!
This blog is not just for Central Floridians.
For one thing, a lot of my most popular posts have stemmed from local wine events – Six Unexpected Bottles of Bubbles, Great Aussie wines from really old vines, and Two Stunners from Loire, just to name a few. Those posts will continue!
Plus, you’ll still find tales of my visits to wineries from California to Missouri (yes, Missouri) and beyond.
And, while this is not a wine review site, I can’t help writing about a bottle that makes me sit up and take notice once in awhile.
So, just as Orlando’s wine community is welcoming to all, I hope this site will be a home for all wine lovers. Whether you’re a local, a visitor looking for a sip of the real Orlando, or you just love reading, thinking, and talking about wine, I hope you’ll stay tuned!