Due to the pandemic, we replaced our 2020 conference with a very successful virtual summit. The next Wine Media Conference will now take place August 5-7, 2021. We have an array of safety procedures in place, will require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination of all participants, and are confident the event will take place as scheduled.
About the Wine Media Conference
The Wine Media Conference was founded in 2008 and attracts wine bloggers, wine writers, and wine influencers and those in the wine industry who communicate with them. The conference averages around 250 attendees depending on the location, making it the largest gathering of wine writers in the world. In 2021 the group will likely be smaller due to the pandemic but we are still expecting between 150-160 attendees. Make sure you are one of them!
About Eugene and the Willamette Valley
According to the Oregon Vineyard & Winery Report, released by Oregon Wine, the state now has 793 wineries. The Willamette Valley is the premier wine region in the state, with 592 wineries, most of them in the north. However, the South Willamette Valley added more wineries in 2018 than any other region of the state (16) and now has 89 wineries.
Everyone thinks of Pinot Noir as the dominant grape in Oregon and it is, with 59% of production in 2018. Other major varietals include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Syrah. But this hardly tells the tale. Production and sales of Oregon wine are strong. Oregon wines are also getting an outsized share of high ratings. From 2015 – 2017, with only 1.5% of US production, Oregon wines received almost 20% of 90+ ratings by Wine Spectator. That magazine’s Tim Fish wrote in March 2019 “Oregon is the most dynamic wine region in the U.S. right now,” and “Oregon is only beginning to tap into its potential.”
We know and love Oregon, having held the 2012 conference in Portland. That is one reason we are very excited to be heading south, to the fun, small city of Eugene. The city, with a population of approximately 170,000, is home to the flagship University of Oregon, which gives the region of strong dose of culture. Situated in the middle of farmlands, farm-to-table cuisine augments the wine, beer, and spirits scenes. Eugene is an outdoors haven, situated smack between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the best small cities in the country and we are excited to be headed there.
Our host hotel is the Valley River Inn (1000 Valley River Way, Eugene, OR 97401, 541-743-1000), located right on the Willamette River and just across a bridge from Eugene’s central district. The hotel offers an outdoor pool, indoor pool, and fitness center for your leisure hours (if you have any) and is located right on a 12-mile network of riverside bike paths if you are ready for a workout. We love the Valley River Inn for the Wine Media Conference because they are happy to accommodate our special needs. Our room rate (available through July 7) is $139, which is an excellent rate for high summer season. Book your room reservation here.
NOTE: if you booked your hotel room for WMC20 – it was cancelled and NOT rolled over to WMC21. You will need to rebook with the link above.
What is Included
Please see the Register page for details on costs. The conference includes multiple wine tastings, an introductory reception on Thursday, Friday excursions into wine country including dinner, possibly one or two lunches depending on sponsorship and COVID protocols, and outstanding content. Not included in the conference price are your hotel, transportation to and from the area, optional pre-conference and post-conference excursions (generally only $25), and most meals.
Arrival and Departure
Eugene has a fantastic regional airport that is easy to get into and out of. It has direct connections to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles along with routes from the hub cities of Denver, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Phoenix for those coming from farther away. The hotel has a courtesy airport shuttle.
Eugene is also on the main Amtrak route running from Seattle to Los Angeles if you prefer to take a scenic trip and is right off I-5 if you are driving.
We will be planning pre-conference and post-conference excursions. If you are interested in these, we suggest you wait to book your flights.
For more information on transportation, please visit Travel Lane County.
Flying With Wine
If you fly on Alaska Airlines, your wine purchased in Oregon can be flown home at no extra charge. See their Wines Fly Free program. This applies for the Eugene, Medford, Redmond, and Portland airports.
Weather & Dress Code
It is usually hot and dry in the Eugene area in August!
Dress is “wine country casual”. What does that mean? Really, you should dress as you feel comfortable. For daytime sessions, jeans and a polo shirt are fine. For excursions into wine country, you should have good shoes and protection from sun or rain. For evening events, many people will dress up a bit.
The Wine Media Conference is organized by Zephyr Conferences, the organizer of the:
- Beer Now Conference
- International Food Blogger Conference
- Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference
- Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference
Zephyr Conferences is a sister company to Zephyr Adventures, Taste Vacations, and Travel Montana. Zephyr Adventures has been running active tours around the world for the last 20 years, including active tours in wine regions. Please visit our website for information on hiking, biking, multisport, and specialty tours.
Taste Vacations runs wine, beer, and food tours that leave the physical activity at home. Our industry contacts via Zephyr Conferences allow us to produce outstanding tours with special access for our attendees.
Travel Montana is a new company we created in response to the pandemic and the resulting surge in demand for domestic travel. Montana, our home state, is one of the world’s top outdoor vacation destinations. Travel Montana has a dozen itineraries suitable for small-group private and public vacations.