Dear Friends,

We want to send our thanks to the many of you who have taken the time to share your warm and wonderful feelings about our 20th anniversary event last month in Paso Robles and also to those of you who have supported us over the years.  We feel our 20th anniversary was the best event so far and we want to share some exciting news about the future of Hospice du Rhône.

Over the last 20 years we have worked hard to grow and develop along with the wonderful category of wines to which we are wed.  It is not surprising that Hospice du Rhône’s blossom has paralleled the magnificent emergence of Rhône varieties around the world.  It has always been our hope and mission to focus a spotlight on these grapes, wines and their producers and watch it all reflect back in your experience of them.  We were founded to celebrate Rhône varieties and consider ourselves fortunate to have discovered so many wonderful celebrants in all of you. 

The changes that have taken place since our inception are truly astonishing.  Starting with about a dozen folks gathering to taste a couple dozen different Viogniers from around the world, we evolved into a three-day celebration of every conceivable wine and region related to ‘Rhônes’.  Likewise, the developments with Rhône varieties around the world in this same period are equally amazing:  California went from less than a hundred acres of Viognier to over 3000, Priorat was born, Condrieu feared abandonment and is now entirely planted and thriving, Australia was ripping out Grenache to plant Cabernet and now the best Grenaches and Syrahs are the gems of the continent.  To complement these developments we have established important collaborative relationships with many Rhône producers and organizations throughout the world.

Building on the success of these 20 years Hospice du Rhône will be looking at new areas to best showcase the wines, philosophies and insights of Rhône producers.  As we move forward we will be discontinuing our three-day event in Paso Robles, California.   We will focus on smaller, more intimate settings, such as our three-year partnership with Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.  

With the transition into this format we also want to announce that Faith Wells, our Communications Director extraordinaire, will be taking on a new role as Events Director for the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau.  Over the past four years Faith has been instrumental in helping us reach our goals and we wish her well in her new endeavor.

In the coming months you will receive specifics about the dates and plans we have for HdR at Blackberry Farm 2013 and future HdR experiences.  We also encourage you to check our website for updates.

Over the years we have marveled at your faith in us - booking your reservations for Hospice du Rhône before we could even unveil the seminars and tasting plans.  That trust has always compelled us to do better, be better, and keep you excited and enthused.  We are confident you will find this new chapter in our adventure a great and logical step.  We look forward to continuing this exciting journey with you.

John Alban and Vicki Carroll   

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