If you are interested in attending the 2022 Wine Media Conference in Italy or have already registered, please consider watching this 35-minute video featuring WMC president Allan Wright and Giovanna Prandini, president of the Lombardy wine association ASCOVILO.
The 2022 Wine Media Conference will take place near the shores of Lake Garda in northern Italy.
Lake Garda is one of the premier tourist destinations in northern Italy. The largest lake in Italy, it is on the border of the provinces of Lombardia and Veneto. It has had the name Garda since at least the 8th century and is named after the town of the same name on the lake. There are dozens of towns and tourism destinations along the shores of the lake and figuring out what to do is half the battle. Luckily, we have made that decision for you.
Desenzano del Garda
Our conference takes place in the town of Desenzano del Garda, which is a small town on the southern shore of the lake. With its sister city Sirmione, it is one of the most well known destinations on the lake.
The town has an historic center situated around the port, which itself at one point was the strategic heart of this trading town. The small streets are a great place to walk and explore. You can easily walk along the lake shore to the lighthouse on the other side of the port. Also in the old town is the Castello di Desenzano del Garda (castle), which overlooks the town and offers some of the best views anywhere of Lake Garda. Another major aspect of the town is the long promenade along Lake Garda that runs two miles from the port all the way to our hotel. Depending on the weather, there are multiple beaches you might wish to enjoy.
In short, we definitely recommend you spend at least one free day in Desenzano.
Sirmione is on a peninsula that juts into the lake only 10 kilometer from Desenzano and 6.5 kilometers from our hotel. It is cute, fun to explore, and one of the most famous destinations on Lake Garda. The old town streets are winding and ancient. The Sirmione Castle is one of the best preserved on Lake Garda. The Grotto di Catullo at the end of the peninsula are Roman-era caves and spa, in a park-like setting including an olive tree grove. Sirmione has several beaches and is also known as a spa center thanks to its thermal waters, with the most famous spa at a sister hotel of our host venue.
You can easily take a taxi from our host hotel or, for a fun day outing, can walk two miles through Desenzano to the ferry terminal and take an inexpensive, 20-minute ferry ride to Sirmione.
Planning Your Stay
The Wine Media Conference will take place in the Hotel Acquaviva in Desenzano and, as with all conferences, most of your time will be spent in the hotel. We will be getting out of the hotel for our typical Friday forays into wine country and will be offering pre-conference and post-conference excursions.
You will, therefore, have little time to relax and explore during the conference. We highly recommend arriving one or two days early to explore the Desenzano and Sirmione areas.
Join us for a webinar on Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00 AM Pacific Time (6:00 PM in Italy) for a webinar on the 2022 Wine Media Conference, to be held September 29 – October 1 at Lake Garda in the province of Lombardy in northern Italy.
Our webinar host will be Allan Wright, founder of the Wine Media Conference, and our special guest will be Giovanna Prandini, president of Ascovilo and owner of the Perla la Garda winery. Ascovilo is a consortium of 13 different wine associations in Lombardy and is our main local partner for the conference.
Join us to learn about:
- The current state of the Wine Media Conference due to the pandemic
- Our COVID safety record in 2021 and our precautions in place for 2022
- Details on WMC22 including registration, meals, host hotel, etc
- Information on the Lombardy and Lake Garda area wine industry
If you cannot make the webinar, sign up anyway and you will be able to watch it later. Register today!
The 2022 Wine Media Conference will be held September 29 – October 1 at Lake Garda in Lombardia in northern Italy.
We are extremely excited to be bringing the Wine Media Conference to Europe for the first time. (Our sister conference, the European Wine Bloggers Conference, no longer is operating.) And we think Italy is the perfect place, given its major role in the world’s wine industry and its exceptional tourism offerings.
However, times have been difficult in the conference world and there will be changes to the conference, including a much smaller size.
Lake Garda, Lombardia
Lombardy (Lombardia in Italian) is a province in northern Italy. With Milan as its major city, Lombardy is easy to access for foreign visitors. Lombardy also has the most UN World Heritage Sites in Italy, which itself has the most of any country in the world. Our host hotel is the Acquaviva Hotel, situated at the southern end of Lake Garda, one of the major tourist attractions of northern Italy.
We have an outstanding local partner in Ascovilo, the Associazione Consorzi Vini Lombardi. Ascovilo is the umbrella association representing 13 different winery associations in Lombardy, which means our experience with area wines and vintners will be broad and rich.
Ascovilo itself will have a strong presence at the conference, including sponsoring Friday excursions and both of the two Live Wine Social events. In addition, we are in the process of setting up pre-conference and post-conference excursions (at a small extra cost), at least some of which will be in Lombardy.
Please see our policies on COVID safety. For WMC22, all attendees will be required to be fully vaccinated. We believe this policy and our plan to keep our attendees in a conference “bubble” will go a long way towards keeping all attendees safe. Vaccination rates and compliance with safety policies is higher in Italy than in the United States. Since almost everyone on flights to Italy will also be vaccinated, even your flight over should be as safe or safer than domestic flights within the US.
We had great success in keeping our attendees safe in 2021, at both conferences and on the tours we run around the world. In fact, we ran five tours in Italy in 2021 and attendees universally said they felt safer than they did at home. We hope to repeat this success in 2022 in Lombardy.
Changes to the 2022 Conference
In addition to being in Europe for the first time ever, the most important change is one of size. Until and unless Italian COVID restrictions change, the conference will be limited to 64 attendees. This is the reality of finding a quality hotel in the wine country of Lombardy that meets our needs, including the ability to bring in and pour wine. If COVID restrictions on meetings are eliminated, we will be able to grow attendance to 140 people.
Another change in 2022 is that we will require all participants to pay for a meal package during the conference. This $200 package will cover an opening reception, two lunches, and two dinners (at least one off site). In the past, we often included similar meals at no charge. The times have changed and this additional fee will ensure we are able to provide you with a stellar conference experience, especially at times when food service in Italy is still under pandemic restrictions.
We think these major changes (Europe, smaller size, meal package) plus the ongoing benefits of the conference (great content, lots of wine tasting, excursions) will make for a super fun and educational experience for those who can go. We think of it as sort of a cross between a conference and a vacation.
Because the conference will be limited to 64 people, we are opening it up ONLY to accredited wine media through March 31. To be accredited, you must have a recent (last six months) article in a published magazine or newspaper or have an updated blog/website, with at least three articles within the past six months. If your blog is not up to date, you are simply not eligible. As always, media can choose to take a discount on the registration price by committing to writing about the conference.
Registration is now open for WMC22 in Italy!
The 2022 Wine Media Conference was successfully held August 5 – 7 in Eugene, with these highlights and important conclusions:
COVID Safety Procedures
We required everyone attending to be vaccinated against, have a negative PCR test for, or have recently been infected and recovered from COVID-19. We were thrilled when every single person presented evidence of vaccination. In addition, we took other precautions including recommending mask wearing indoors or on buses.
Of course, this was a wine conference and the reality was almost everyone took their mask down at times to taste wine or eat food. Because of this, and with the new Delta variant, there was risk.
We are aware of one individual who felt bad and tested positive for COVID-19 immediately after the conference. After alerting all attendees, we have received no further indications of any positive tests. Therefore, we do not believe there was any community spread at this conference and our safety procedures worked. (It is very possible the person who tested positive was infected before arriving or even on the return home.)
Pre-Con and Post-Con Excursions
The Oregon Wine Board funded the sponsorship fee and helped set up three pre-conference and three post-conference excursions which highlighted six different regions throughout the state. These excursions were highly rated and turned a conference into an in-depth study of the local wine region. These were a highlight of the conference.
High Marks for Content and Speakers
Also scoring well on our post-conference excursion was the content delivered by our many speakers. This was tricky during COVID, as we had quite a few speakers who canceled their participation, either early on back in 2020 or weeks prior to the event. We very much appreciate all our speakers and the effort they put into delivering content that was rated as valuable by our attendees.
Need Improvement on Local Events
The one area that received poor reviews from our attendees were the Friday Dinner Excursions. Due to COVID, the local wine region (which does not have many wineries within a short drive of Eugene), was not able to support the typical dinner excursions our attendees have become accustomed to, in which we split into smaller groups and visit vineyards and wineries. Luckily, Pfeiffer Winery and Travel Lane County stepped up to each host a larger group of attendees for dinner. But expectations were not properly set and our attendees missed the smaller, more in-depth dinner excursions of the past.
There was much discussion in Oregon about wine media attending the International Food Blogger Conference, which will take place November September 30 – October 3 in El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico. Please consider joining us. In addition, we are working now to secure a location for the 2022 Wine Media Conference.