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.