Virtual Blogger Tastings in Santiago

After Wines of Chile’s tremendously successful Blogger Tastings last week, the persuasive message of Chilean wine is now sweeping through the blogosphere.

With the help of 60 wine bloggers in United States and six wine bloggers in Chile, a virtual Blogger Tasting on Wednesday October 24 generated 853 Tweets through the designated #BlogChile hashtag, creating 5.5 million impressions on the Web, and reaching 400,000 followers!

Another high-tech and innovative Blogger Tasting took place on Thursday October 25 for Wines of Chile’s Asian audience.

“We believe this is going to keep going,” says Wines of Chile Managing Director Claudio Cilveti, referring to the power of social media in promoting Chilean wine to the world.

Through the United States event, Wines of Chile bridged the northern and southern hemispheres by inviting six bloggers to Chile to take part in the tasting, which was broadcast to the computers of 60 additional bloggers who participated virtually.

The tastings were moderated by Master Sommelier and Wines of Chile Educator Fred Dexheimer, who also traveled to Chile for the event.

A similar Blogger Tasting was held in United States in April, but last week’s events marked the first time Dexheimer moderated the tasting in the same room as winemakers, creating lively interaction and face-to-face discussions about the wines.

“[The Blogger Tasting] was more fun, more natural, that we were all here together,” recalls Lori Tieszen, Director of Wines of Chile’s United States office.

While 60 bloggers in United States received a shipment of wine in the mail for Wednesday’s tasting, six lucky bloggers instead received a trip to Chile and the chance to attend in person.

In addition to discovering Chile’s wine country, cuisine and warm hospitality on their week-long venture, the guest bloggers also comprised a discussion panel in a seminar on “New media today and how wineries can benefit it,” held in Santiago on Friday October 26.

Guest bloggers and winemakers socializing at pre-tasting cocktail in Santiago, Chile (Photo by Gretchen Stahlman)


Meet the visiting bloggers

Gabe Sasso

The freelance wine writer for and, has an adventurous palate and a curious mind. “I like to get inside things,” he says, discussing his trip to Chile and his exploration of Chilean wines. “Lesser-known is more interesting to me.”

Traveling to Chile has provided Sasso and his companions with direct insight into Chile’s wines, winemakers and wine regions, an irreplaceable experience that they’ll share online.

“Blogs have a more personal touch than traditional media,” said Sasso in Friday’s New Media seminar, indicating that consumers are more likely to identify with wine blogs, where they can easily “find a voice that speaks to them.”

Dennis Sodomka

Co-founder of and based out of Augusta, Georgia, Sodomka is a career journalist who primarily began writing about wine after retirement.

“We tell stories, and that’s what people remember,” he told the seminar audience. “Stories are more important than anything.”

According to Sodomka, wine-lovers “can build memories on [wine],” like the memories he’ll carry and the stories he’ll tell of his time here – a dusky, outdoor dinner at Casa Silva, riding horses through J. Bouchon, and the consistent kindness of Chile’s people.

Kori Voorhees is a family collaboration, representing Kori Voorhees’ decade-long career in wine, which began as a hobby and later evolved into a successful blog and consultancy.

Voorhes’ blog “writes to the level of the consumer,” she says. As a result, WinePeeps is a convenient educational hub for anyone seeking clear and friendly information and resources for augmenting all levels of wine knowledge.

Jameson Fink

“I like to use food as a vehicle for talking about wine,” says Fink. “The food audience is thirsty for wine knowledge.”

Fink regularly pairs food and wine in writing on popular sites and, where he quenches his readership’s thirst for gastronomic insight.

A true foodie, Fink savored the experience of pairing Chilean Sauvignon Blancs with coastal seafood last week. And although this was not his first trip to Chile, he also savored the view of the Andes from the vineyards he visited in the company of the other guest bloggers.

Abigail Purcell

Creating “click candy” is Abigail Purcell’s specialty.

As Social Media manager for, Purcell is perfecting the art and skill of engaging the wine community through social media, inspiring online wine-lovers with dynamic Facebook and Twitter posts.

Active social media communities like Bottlenotes benefit the entire wine industry, Purcell advised seminar attendees.

“Even though we all want to be the best,” she said,” it’s really important to recognize that we all want to succeed.”

Timothy O’Neal

As a contributor to Sommelier Journal and the Wine Director of Kansas City’s Avenues Bistro restaurant, Timothy O’Neal is realizing and writing about his passion for wine.

“You gotta have feeling,” he explains, regarding his motivation as a wine writer.

O’Neal’s feeling and personality are evident in his writing and in his vibrant career selecting and promoting wine for the food industry.

No stranger to amazing meals and amazing wines, O’Neal recalls eating lunch outside on a beautiful day at Viu Manent winery as one of the trip’s distinguishing moments.

“Sauvignon Blancs seem fresher when drinking outside,” he reminisces.

Experience the Wines of Chile

The following wines and wineries were represented in the Blogger Tastings; keep an eye out for blogger reviews appearing online!

  • Viña Casablanca Casablanca Valley Nimbus Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012
  • San Pedro Leyda Valley 1865 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011
  • Casa Silva Colchagua Valley Paredones Estate Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2011
  • Emiliana Casablanca Valley Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2010
  • Cono Sur Casablanca Valley 20 Barrels Pinot Noir 2009
  • Morandé Casablanca Valley Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2009
  • Concha y Toro Cachapoal Valley Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere 2010
  • Carmen Colchagua Valley Alpata Vineyard Gran Reserva Carmenere 2010
  • Koyle Royale Alto Colchagua Carmenere
  • Viña Ventisquero Maipo Valley Grey Glacier Single Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
  • Viña Maquis Colchagua Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
  • Viña Los Vascos Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Colchagua Valley Le Dix Cabernet Sauvignon


By Gretchen Stahlman, written for Wines of Chile

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