2021 Wine Media Conference Agenda
Below is the 2021 Agenda, which is still being finalized. All sessions will take place at the Valley River Inn in Eugene unless otherwise indicated.
Monday – Thursday, August 2 – 5
Pre-Conference Excursions: We are working with the Oregon Wine Board to offer three pre-conference excursions in the state. These excursions give attendees the opportunity to have an in-depth look at other wine regions outside the Eugene area. Please read each excursion carefully as starting and ending times vary, as well as whether hotel is included in the excursion cost or not. If you are already registered for the conference, you can sign up for a pre-conference excursion here. If you are not registered for the conference, you can sign up for a pre-conference excursion when you register.
- SOLD OUT! Umpqua Valley August 2 – 4
- SOLD OUT! Southern Oregon August 2 – 4
- Ribbon Ridge AVA August 3 – 5
Thursday, August 5
4:00 – 6:30 PM Registration
4:30 – 6:30 PM Welcome Reception & Expo: Come join Travel Lane County for an opening reception with wine and small bites. Combined with wines served by our sponsors and partners, this will be a fantastic way to open the conference, meet old friends, and make new ones.
Friday, August 6
Breakfast on Your Own
8:30 AM – 5:55 PM Registration & Tradeshow: Meet our sponsors on breaks throughout the day
9:00 – 9:20 AM Official Conference Opening
9:20 – 10:05 AM Introduction to Eugene, the Willamette Valley, and Oregon: Here from a panel of locals about the terroir, history, and current state of grape growing and winemaking in the region.
10:05 – 10:50 AM Opening Keynote with Cyril Penn: Penn has spent almost 20 years in the wine industry as an editor at Wine Business Monthly and has spent his career engaged with the wine industry, professional wine writers, and bloggers.
10:50 – 11:05 AM Break
11:05 – 11:55 AM Advice from Professional Media: Hear from veteran, expert wine media Chasity Cooper from Wine With Chas and Melissa Dowling from Cheers who will expound on everything from how to establish a niche, identify your community, equitable journalism practices, build trust with your readers, master social media or connect with brands or wineries.
11:55 AM – 1:25 PM Lunch on Your Own
1:25 – 2:10 PM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of two
- Independent Wine Media in the Post-Covid World: How Wineries, Regions, and Content Creators Can Effectively Collaborate for Fun and Profit with Austin Beeman
- Managing Yourself as a Business: Put on your cape! This session will include important business basics (legal and financial); points on how to market one’s own work; and goal-setting tips & tricks to keep you on the path to growth. Presented by Christine Deussen, Deussen Global Communications, Inc.
2:10 – 2:25 PM Break
2:25 – 3:25 PM Discovery Sessions: Taste wines and learn in depth about a specific region of the world from our sponsors. Choose one of two.
- DOC delle Venezie, discovering the revolution of Italian-style Pinot Grigio: The Triveneto area in Italy is the place in the world where Pinot Grigio thrives and gives its best. Delle Venezie DOC is the new Italian appellation to guarantee the high quality standard of Pinot Grigio from that specific area. Discover the terroir, the styles and the Italian creativity behind the most popular still white wine in the U.S with Laura Donadoni, wine journalist and educator, brand ambassador for Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio’s association in the U.S.
3:25 – 3:40 PM Break
3:40 – 4:25 PM All Group Session: TBD
4:25 – 5:25 PM Live Wine Social – White/Rosé: Live Wine Social (previously Live Wine Blogging) is the signature event of the conference but will be adapted in 2021 due to COVID protocols. Wineries will each have five minutes to address the entire audience while attendees are tasting your wine. Attendees will evaluate your wine, take notes for later posts, and post on social media live about the wines they take. This is the fastest, most fun event at the conference. Please see our Sponsorship opportunities page for details on pouring.
6:00 – 10:00 PM Wine Country Dinner Excursions: These dinner excursions are included in the ticket price and will be organized by the Southern Willamette Wineries Association.
Saturday, August 7
Breakfast on Your Own
8:30 AM – 5:35 PM Registration & Tradeshow
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of two
- Creating Community: Leveraging Your Social Media: To fully harness the power and possibility of digital content, we begin by breaking it into its two key origins — social & media — and look at how to use user-generated content to create a community around your branded causes. Presented by Brett Rawson, Washington State Wine Commission.
The Art of Storytelling for the Wine Industry: A session for writers of meaningful and engaging content. For many wineries, the story of place and people is as important as the profiles of the wine they produce. But what really matters to readers and wine buyers? In this session, we’ll sharpen your storytelling skills for any audience or writing opportunity. Topics will include: choosing an angle, determining sources, and interviewing tips. We’ll touch on the best ways to capture place and setting with your words and how to approach fresh topics to pitch to editors or enhance your own publication. As a bonus, we’ll build a 5-minute resume that captures why you are the person to tell the story. Presented by Jill Barth.
9:30 – 9:35 AM Break
9:35 – 10:05 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of two
- Photography Tips for Making Your Wine Blog Pop: Learn how to make your wine blog more interesting through the use of creative and story-telling photography. Focus will be on how to create thoughtful and crisp vineyard, winemaker/owner, and winemaking process images. Presented by George Rose, George Rose Photography.
- Take your Instagram to the Next Level: Learn the tips and tricks of Instagram to increase your following and engagement. Get your profile noticed through polls, Ask Me sessions, live streaming and social media takeovers. Presented by Scott Fish, 32° digital.
10:05 – 10:10 AM Break
10:10 – 10:40 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of two
- Personal Branding On Social Media for Wine Writers: This session will dive into top level strategies of defining your own professional brand as a content creator: gaining clarity on your passion, purpose, and niche; identifying your target audience; and creating laser-focused content that will attract loyal readers and followers on social media. Best practices for building a robust Instagram following will also be covered. Presented by Sarah Tracey, The Lush Life. More information about Sarah and her session.
- The Business of Paid Wine Media: This session is for those who are ready to make the leap into paid wine writing and/or content creation. Topics will include what kind of prior experience may be advantageous to securing paid work, creating and maintaining one’s portfolio, learning how to capture the story behind the wine/winemaker/brand, pitching wineries and other wine businesses, pitching media outlets, and how to manage one’s freelance business. Presented by Elizabeth Smith, Elizabeth Smith Consulting.
10:40 – 10:55 AM Break
10:55 – 11:55 AM Discovery Sessions: Taste wines and learn in depth about a specific region of the world from our sponsors. Choose one of two.
- Le Marche, the “new Tuscany” in Central Italy: Join us as we discover the beauty and the diversity of Marche grapes, wines and territory. Le Marche is a hidden gem in the heart of central Italy, an up and coming wine region, similar in climate and geography to Tuscany, but much more diverse and intriguing. Tiziana Forni, Velenosi brand ambassador, wine expert, and Le Marche region local will guide you through the highlights of this region, through the wines of one of Le Marche top producers, Velenosi Winery. The masterclass will cover the main Marche denominations and will include a tasting of many indigenous varieties and styles.
11:55 AM – 1:25 PM Lunch on Your Own
1:25 – 2:25 PM All Group Session
2:25 – 3:10 PM Live Wine Social – Red: Live Wine Social (previously Live Wine Blogging) is the signature event of the conference but will be adapted in 2021 due to COVID protocols. Wineries will each have five minutes to address the entire audience while attendees are tasting your wine. Attendees will evaluate your wine, take notes for later posts, and post on social media live about the wines they take. This is the fastest, most fun event at the conference. Please see our Sponsorship opportunities page for details on pouring.
3:10 – 3:25 PM Break
3:25 – 4:10 PM Lightning Talks: This is the opportunity to hear from your fellow attendees. We will have eight speakers, each of whom will have five minutes to present on a subject that is near to his or her heart. The catch is each speaker has to use 20 slides that are set to auto-rotate every 15 seconds, which keeps the talks fast and fun. Not only that, this is at the end of the conference and after a bit of wine tasting, so the event should be fun and a bit rowdy!
4:10 – 4:30 PM Conference Close
Sunday – Monday, August 8 – 9
Post-Conference Excursions: We are working with the Oregon Wine Board to offer three post-conference excursions in the state. There will be a small additional registration cost and attendees are responsible for their own hotel but winery visits, tastings, and most meals are included. If you are already registered for the conference, you can sign up for a post-conference excursion here. If you are not registered for the conference, you can sign up for a post-conference excursion when you register.