Each year we solicit bids from a handful of prominent wine regions to see if they would be interested to host the North American Wine Bloggers Conference the following year. One of our goals is to rotate the conference to new wine areas to give our attendees a chance to visit other regions and to give those regions a chance to highlight their attributes.
We are currently working with three excellent wine areas who have submitted bids to host the 2012 North American Wine Bloggers Conference. The next step is to gather public opinion. We ask past and current blogger attendees for their ratings in a private poll but are also eager to hear from anyone who has opinions about where we should hold the 2012 conference. This input will be factored into the location bid itself and the 2012 location will be announced live at this year’s conference in Charlottesville.
Please feel free to comment on this blog post with your opinions about why you think the 2012 North American Wine Bloggers Conference should be held in Penticton, British Columbia; Oregon; or Santa Barbara, California.
Penticton, British Columbia: Penticton is in eastern British Columbia and is the heart of the province’s wine region, with more than 120 wineries in the area. The conference would be based at the Penticton Lakeside Resort in this town of about 40,000. Local wine organizers are extremely eager to host our conference (they already have a Twitter account and Facebook page to promote it) and have the support of local and provincial groups as well as wine associations across Canada. Penticton has its own regional airport, with daily flights from Vancouver and Calgary, and the Kelowna International Airport, an hour away, has flights to Seattle.
Oregon: The conference hotel would be in Portland, with easy airport access and more facilities, but we would spend Saturday in wine country in the Willamette Valley. Oregon now has 419 wineries and 849 vineyard owners producing some of the top wines in the country. The state’s bid comes from the Oregon Wine Board with help from Travel Oregon and the Oregon Winegrowers Association. In addition, we have support from the famous International Pinot Noir Celebration, which although it will be on a different weekend is eager to work with us.
Santa Barbara County, California: This is one of the premier wine regions of Southern California, with over 100 wineries and 21,000 acres of vineyards. We would likely be based in the small town of Buellton, surrounded by wine towns including Solvang, Los Olivos, and Santa Maria. Buellton is 40 minutes from the airport in Santa Barbara and two hours from Los Angeles. We have strong support from the Santa Barbara County Vintner’s Association, local CVBs, and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.