Two of the highest-rated Wine Bloggers Conferences out of the seven so far were 2010 in Walla Walla, Washington and 2013 in Penticton, British Columbia. We think it is not a coincidence these were also two of our smallest host cities and we believe the 2015 conference, to be held August 13-16 in Corning, New York (population 11,000) will be equally as rewarding for participants.
I traveled to Corning and the Finger Lakes region in September and came back extremely enthused for next summer’s conference. I visited half a dozen wineries, met 50 local wine and tourism industry leaders over three planned meetings, and spent time in Corning itself.
Let me paint you a picture.
- Local Airport: I flew into Elmira Corning Regional Airport, a local airport with good connections. I love airports like this, which are easy upon arrival and cut your get-to-the-airport advance time upon departure. Our host hotel, the Radisson in Corning, is only 13 minutes away and the airport is generously providing shuttles on Thursday and Sunday.
- Small Town With Big Hospitality: Corning itself is an awesome little town that is coming together to support the conference. Two local off-hotel locations are tentatively hosting evening parties on Friday and Saturday, meaning we’ll be getting out of the hotel more often next year. Saturday’s sit-down banquet dinner is tentatively planned for outdoors in a local park and the Wine Blog Awards ceremony will take place just afterward in a theater auditorium, giving the awards more prominence and their own time slot. All this takes place within walking distance of the hotel in the Gaffer District of central Corning. (A gaffer is a glass blower, named after the eponymous company based in the town of Corning.)
- Excursions: The Finger Lakes wine region is spread out and the nearest wineries to our host hotel are 30 minutes away, which means our traditional excursions into the local wine area on Friday simply cannot reach most of the wine region. However, we are offering both a pre-conference overnight excursion to Seneca Lake and a post-conference excursion to Cayuga Lake, two of the main wine areas, for those of you wishing to explore the region more. Space is limited and details will be provided in January.
- Wine Industry Support: The local wine industry is definitely excited about the Wine Bloggers Conference and is stepping up to support the conference in numerous ways. Perhaps most importantly, both Live Wine Blogging sessions, which we have been running since the first WBC, will be full with Finger Lakes wines alone. You’ll have plenty of local wines to try during the weekend.
New York State, whose wine industry is led by the Finger Lakes, was named the 2014 Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine, which called the state “one of the most vibrant and promising wine-producing destinations in the world.” This is against worldwide competition.
Make sure to come to Corning, the Finger Lakes, and New York State to participate in what should be an awesome Wine Bloggers Conference. Remember registration will be limited next year due to space constraints at the host hotel.