We are super pleased to announce Andrea Robinson will provide the keynote address at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference, taking place August 11-14 in Lodi, California.
One of only 23 female Master Sommeliers in the world, Andrea couples this distinction with a strong culinary pedigree as a graduate and former Dean of the French Culinary Institute. She was the first woman ever named “Best Sommelier in the United States” by the Sommelier Society of America, is a winner of three James Beard Awards, and has been widely featured across leading national television networks and publications. She has written four best-selling books and blogs at AndreaWine.com.
Want to know more? Below is an introduction by veteran blogger Joe Roberts of 1WineDude followed by an interview with Andrea, reproduced in the same pink font she in which she sent it to us.
Joe Roberts: “You might not know Master Somm Andrea Robinson. But you should; and if you’re heading to WBC 2016, you will.
The quickest way to tell you what you need to know about Andrea is that she’s L-E-G-I-T.
In looking back on nearly a decade of wine blogging, from its promising infancy to its present status as an en-masse force predicting most of what becomes trendy in the wine world long before it’s deemed cool, I can’t think of any entrenched wine personalities who were as supportive of that change as early (or as enthusiastically) as Robinson.
Andrea did me a few solids when I was less-than-a-nobody in the wine world. She publicly cheered on 1WineDude.com when she had little (okay, no) self-serving benefits to do so. I later came to learn that wasn’t special treatment coming from her; I have personally watched Andrea offer support for burgeoning sommeliers and promising wine writers; really, anyone in the wine biz who she thinks is also legit. And we have all watched her not only welcome the challenges that the advent of online media engendered in the wine world, but grab that shiz by the horns and put the smack-down on it.
In other words, Andrea is a vinous bad-ass.
Those of you lucky enough to hear her speak at WBC 2016 are in for a real treat. Not only is Andrea more than capable of extending the streak of excellent WBC keynote addresses, she’s also a veritable force of nature, regularly displaying an enthusiasm that would seem more probably coming from someone five times her size.”
We are now in the ninth year of the Wine Bloggers Conference. How do you think wine writing (and wine blogging) has changed in the ensuing years?
Andrea: I think there continue to be new voices in wine blogging, which is exciting but also creates challenges for differentiating one’s voice and work. I also think that over that time frame, statistics have begun to show a dwindling importance of the big traditional publications, and of scores out of 100 points, as the key voices of influence in wine trends and purchases. This suggests that alternative sources of information are more important, including presumably wine bloggers.
You’re part of a sommelier community that is incredibly supportive, having each others’ backs in a way that can be quite inspiring. What do you think or hope the online wine writing community can take away from that example?
Andrea: The conference is a great way to foster and solidify solidarity and community among writers and I’m hoping to see aspects of the event devoted to this. It would be great to have a board similar to the Guild of Sommeliers where writers can share on topics and areas where they need help or would like input or views of their bretheren, and where they can share links to what they are working on so we can all support one another’s efforts.
You have written for both print (including four books) as well as electronically (including an active blog on your website). What do you think is the difference between writing for print versus online?
Andrea: The lead times for print are such that you can’t be very current, except for topics of known relevance like Wines for Thanksgiving or the Best Bubblies for Valentine’s Day, for example. And print doesn’t work so well for essay-type topics except in magazines, where there remain precious few outlets for wine articles. What’s great about digital is that with the long tail, you can narrow-cast topics you really care about, and find your audience, and they you.
Do you have any thoughts yet on what you plan to tell attendees at the Wine Bloggers Conference?
Andrea: Having just attended the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, I have a lot of fresh insights from some of the best writers out there that will inform some of what I would like to share. I also plan to talk about topics that could use more attention and why, as well as platforms that bloggers perhaps are not considering, trends that might inform topic choices, and the importance of credibility and authenticity, broadly defined.