2015 WINE BLOGGERS CONFERENCE AGENDA
All events will be held at the host Radisson Hotel in Corning, The Finger Lakes, New York unless otherwise noted.
Wednesday, August 12
1:00 PM Pickup at Radisson Hotel for the Pre-Conference Excursion to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail
1:30 PM Pickup at Elmira Corning Regional Airport for the Pre-Conference Excursion
Thursday, August 13
5:00 PM Pre-Conference Excursion finishes at the Radisson Hotel.
7:00 – 9:30 PM Registration and Opening Wine Reception, Riverfront Park: Corning’s Gaffer District, named a top culinary destination by the Bon Appétit Appalachia program, will roll out the red carpet for a beautiful evening reception in the historic downtown’s Riverfront Centennial Park. Wines from the Keuka Lake Wine Trail and small plates from a variety of the celebrated local restaurants pair beautifully, while the backdrop of the award-winning Historic Centerway Walking Bridge, laid over the Chemung River, and live music on the nearby Centerway Square’s public stage provide the perfect atmosphere. Named as a tribute to the gaffers, or master glassblowers, that make up Corning’s rich glass heritage, the historic downtown is known for its exceptional shopping, dining, arts and beautifully restored buildings. The reception is co-sponsored by the Keuka Lake Wine Trail and Finger Lakes Wine Country and with support from the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce. Follow @GafferDistrict and join in the conversation using #ExploreCorning.
Friday, August 14
8:30 – 9:30 AM Registration, The Radisson Hotel Lobby
9:30 – 10:30 AM Conference Opening & Keynote Speech, Ballroom: Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible
10:30 – 11:30 AM Introduction to the Finger Lakes Wine Country, Ballroom: You are here in the Finger Lakes in part to learn about this remarkable area—a source of world-class, cool climate wines and the largest wine producing region east of the Rocky Mountains. Quality factors include vineyards which slope down to deep, glaciated lakes, providing favorable micro-climates and soils for the growth of premium Vinifera wine grapes, notably Riesling. Hear from three panelists who will share inside information on grape growing and wine production in the Finger Lakes: Sommelier, chef, and winemaker Christopher Bates; fruit crop physiologist Alan Lakso from Cornell University; and owner, winemaker, and vineyard manager Fred Merwarth from Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard. The panel will be moderated by Laury Poland, President of Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association.
11:30 – 1:30 PM WBC Expo & Lunch, Outside Tent: Hosted by the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency and Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association. Enjoy a casual summer lunch, chat with our sponsors, and taste wines from the region and from farther abroad. The lunch will take place outdoors in the tent on the hotel grounds.
1:30 – 2:30 PM Wine Discovery Sessions, Ballroom subsections – Choose one of three:
- Fizzyology 101: In-depth Study of Lambrusco Styles, Keuka – Bill Whiting, Director of Wine Education for Banfi Vintners, guides you through the many styles of Lambrusco, from secco (bone-dry) to amabile (mildly sweet), and perfetto pairings from “the stomach of Italy,” Emilia-Romagna.
- Si What’s Next with Ribera y Rueda, Seneca – Sommelier partner and ambassador, Charles Ford of The Bristol, Chicago will lead this interactive tasting by walking you through the unique regions, immersing you in the history of select wineries, and giving you a chance to win a few prizes along the way! Join us to Si What’s Next and taste the unexpectedly unique wines from Spain.
- Riesling, King of the Finger Lakes, Cayuga – Sponsored by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, this session provides comparative tastings of Rieslings from the three primary lakes—Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka—within the Finger Lakes AVA. Julie Caplan, Program Manager of the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance, will lead this lively discussion and sensory experience.
2:45 – 3:45 PM Live Wine Blogging, Ballroom- Featuring White Wines from the Finger Lakes: Live Wine Blogging has been a feature of every single WBC. You will have an opportunity to hear from ten wine producers in 50 minutes. Each will have five minutes to pour their wine, explain the wine and the producer, and answer questions all while you taste, evaluate, and Tweet or blog about your thoughts. All wines will be white wines from the Finger Lakes region.
4:15 PM Finger Lakes Wine Country Excursions: This is your one opportunity during the main conference to explore Finger Lakes Wine Country. We have almost five hours to head out on ten different excursions where you will meet local winery owners and winemakers, see vineyards, hear from local experts, taste wines, and enjoy Finger Lakes-focused fare. You might be served a winemaker’s own signature dish, a celebrity chef’s notable selection, or even find yourself grilling a steak or veggie option just the way you like it. Excursions will include overviews of the terroir, winemaking styles from each of the three main lakes, private library tastings, and multi-vintage verticals. The best part is that all excursions are a surprise – just jump on any bus and go!
9:00 PM Wines of New York! Tasting & Reception at The Rockwell Museum, a beautiful three-story historic building in the heart of Corning only one block from our hotel. The Rockwell is more than a museum, it is a unique community center where people enjoy, connect, and reflect on the essence of the American spirit, character and values through the eyes of American artists. Enjoy sweet treats, live music, and world-class art as you taste a wide variety of New York wines. Games and giveaways will make for a fun and memorable evening. Conference participants will be among the first to view a very special exhibition of “The Colorado River Basin” – see the story of the The Colorado River through vibrant photographs by Colorado-native and National Geographic photographer, Pete McBride. RockwellMuseum
11:00 PM After-hours Party with Jordan Winery
Saturday, August 15
9:15 – 10:15 AM Breakout Sessions, Ballroom subsections– – Choose one of three
- Digital Marketing for Wine Bloggers, Keuka: Bloggers are content creators, which is the basis of digital marketing. And even if you are not selling any product or service, you likely are interested to “sell” your own brand and increase visitation to your website. Join Gary Nealon, founder of Wine Trail Adventures, to learn about converting your content into multiple forms of media for distribution including image, video, blog, power point, pdf, and audio; how to use social media to achieve your goals; and effectively using email to promote your site. Gary is the owner of a e-commerce based company that produces sales in the eight-figure range per year and has his own marketing firm in addition to running the Wine Trail Adventures app.
- Photography and Videography On Your Smart Phone, Seneca: Do you add a few token photos to your blog posts but regret the time it takes to shoot and edit them? Are you still avoiding moving to video because it seems daunting? Photography and videography need not be time consuming or expensive. Hear from professional photographer Dayna Smith how you can change the way you blog using photos and video with no additional budget and little extra time. Please bring your smart phone with you ready for hands-on experimentation.
- The Business of Wine, Cayuga: What is new and what is upcoming in the wine world? Hear from three wine industry experts about their current experiences and predictions for the future of the industry. Panelists include Zach Milne-Haverty from Beverage Trade Network, Leeann Froese from Town Hall Brands, and Monika Elling from Foundation Marketing Group, with moderator Marcy Gordon, blogger at Come for the Wine and Founder of Writing Between the Vines – Vineyard Retreats for Writers.
10:30 – 11:30 AM Breakout Sessions, Ballroom subsections – Choose one of three
- Blog-To-X, Keuka: We have discussed monetization of wine blogging since the very first WBC. The conclusion appears to be the best way to “monetize” a blog is to leverage your experience blogging to consult in social media, write a book, get a winery job, or even create wine events. Hear from a panel of bloggers who have done just this: Terry Sullivan from Wine Trail Traveler will present Blog-to-Book; Debbie Gioquindo the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess will present Blog-to-Consultant; Diane Letulle of Wine Lover’s Journal will present Blog-to-Wine Teacher; and Amy Gross from Vinesleuth/Wine4.Me will present Blog-t0-Magazine Columnist.
- Women in the Wine World, Seneca: Hear from three women working in the wine world about their experiences in a traditionally male field. Our speakers include our keynote speaker, wine writer Karen MacNeil; Meaghan Frank, General Manager of Dr. Frank’s Winery in The Finger Lakes; and Stevie Kim, Managing Director of Vinitaly International. The panel will be moderated by Houston attorney Amy Corron Power, CWAS, who is the Texas State Co-Chair for ABA Wine, a wine consultant and Managing Editor for Another Wine Blog..
- Mobile Ready Websites, Cayuga: Today more than ever, your ability to reach your readers where ever they may be is key to your success. This means that your site has to look great on laptops, on tablets, on phones, and it has to be consistent across social platforms. In this session, we’ll hear from two pros – Simon Ouderkirk and Sheri Bigelow from WordPress.com – about what Mobile Ready really means, the Mobile Readiness Checklist, and tools that will help you ensure your blog performs at its best at all times.
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Lunch with the Seneca Lake Winery Association, Ballroom
1:15 – 2:15 PM Wine Discovery Sessions – Choose one of three:
- Wines Across the Andes, Calder Room – Aurelio Montes Jr., Second Generation Winemaker at Kaiken Winery, will compare and contrast unique terroir-driven environmental approaches in Chile and Argentina via Montes wines from Chile and Kaiken wines from Argentina. Presented by Montes & Kaiken Wines.
- The Spectrum of Dry Riesling, Seneca Room – One of the greatest and most versatile varieties, Riesling is also one of the most misunderstood by consumers. This “king of grapes” is often perceived as only being sweet, but some of the world’s best dry expressions come from France’s Alsace region. With its enviable climate and complex mosaic of soils, Alsace produces a wide range of dry Riesling styles, from lean and racy to rich and powerful. Join Wines of Alsace’s Louise Jordan DWS to discover the exciting diversity of this noble variety and learn more about this exceptional region. Presented by Wines of Alsace
- Cellaring Sense: The Ageability of Finger Lakes Wines, Cayuga Room – Sponsored by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, this session will help to answer the age-old question—does wine get better with time? Winemaker Brandon Seager, Chair of the Wine Marketing Program at Tompkins Cortland Community College, will share his expertise on the ageability of wines. Using library wines from the Finger Lakes region, Brandon will guide the conversation, and offer general cellaring tips to share with your audience.
2:30 – 3:30 PM Panel of 2015 Wine Blog Award Winners, Ballroom: For the first time, the Wine Blog Award winners were announced prior to the WBC, allowing us to invite them to attend the conference and speak on this panel. Hear from 2015 award winners Chris Kassel from Intoxicology Report (Best Blog Post of the Year), Jason Stubblefield from Cork Envy (Best Original Photography or Video), Meg Houston Maker from Maker’s Table (Best Writing on a Wine Blog), Wil Fernandez from Vintage 2014 (Best New Wine Blog), and Becca Yeamans from The Academic Wino (Best Overall Wine Blog – via video). The panel will be moderated by Tom Wark from Fermentation Wine Blog, founder of the Wine Blog Awards.
3:30 – 4:30 PM Live Wine Blogging, Ballroom – Featuring Reds & Rosés from the Finger Lakes: Live Wine Blogging has been a feature of every single WBC. You will have an opportunity to hear from ten wine producers in 50 minutes. Each will have five minutes to pour their wine, explain the wine and the producer, and answer questions all while you taste, evaluate, and Tweet or blog about your thoughts. All wines will be red & rosé wines from the Finger Lakes region.
4:30 – 6:15 PM Wines of the World Reception, Outside Tent: Relax before dinner while tasting wines from wine around the world including Wines of South Africa; Ribera y Rueda; Montes Wines from Chile & Argentina, Wines of Alsace, France; Dr. Loosen from Germany; Villa Trasqua from Italy; and Salton from Brazil.
6:15 PM Depart Hotel for Evening Events: It is a short .7 mile walk through central Corning and on a foot bridge over the Chemung River to the Corning Museum of Glass. There will be a backup shuttle leaving at 6:15 PM for those not wishing to walk.
6:45 – 7:30 PM Special Hot Glass Demo at the Corning Museum of Glass by master Gaffer (glass blower) Eric Meek, who also designed this year’s Wine Blog Awards.
7:30 – 9:00 PM Dinner hosted by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association at the Corning Museum of Glass. It’s a can’t miss, compare and share pairing affair. Four courses…eight wines…you be the judge. Winery experts will share their thoughts behind each pairing, but in the end, you decide.
9:00 – 9:15 PM Announcement of 2016 Conference Date & Location the, Old Auditorium: Immediately after dinner we will announce the 2016 conference date and location.
9:15 – 9:45 PM Wine Blog Awards Presentation, Old Auditorium at the Corning Museum of Glass: The 2015 Wine Blog Awards were announced two months prior to the conference. Those winners in attendance will be able to receive their physical trophy this evening. Join in the fun and celebrate the achievements of your fellow bloggers in the beautiful auditorium of the recently remodeled Corning Museum of Glass. Emcee is Alan Kropf, long-time emcee and high-energy presenter of the Wine Blog Awards.
9:45 – 11:15 PM Evening Party in the enchanting courtyard at the Corning Museum of Glass featuring sparkling and ice wines from the Finger Lakes: Join our Finger Lakes hosts for one final salute to their outstanding hospitality, sipping wines and sampling local desserts. Transport will be provided on a rolling basis from 10:00 to 11:30 PM back from the museum to the Radisson.
11:15 PM Unofficial After Parties – if you want to throw an after party, please stick to this time slot so as not to impact conference events
Sunday, August 16
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM The Secrets to Wine Blogging Success, Seneca and Cayuga: Participate in an interactive discussion with a panel of successful bloggers about specific things you can do to make your blog more successful. This is your opportunity to have your questions answered, discuss your concerns and ideas, or simply take notes with a room full of your peers and a panel of successful wine bloggers. Our panelists include Madeline Puckette from Wine Folly, Jana Seitzer from Merlot Mommy, and Frank Morgan from Drink What You Like, with moderator Thea Dwelle from Luscious Lushes.
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM The Secrets to Wine Writing Success, Seneca and Cayuga: We’ll change focus to discuss wine writing, from blogs to other media. Experienced wine writers and bloggers W. Blake Gray and Meg Houston Maker will talk about choosing interesting subjects and reporting and writing strategies that will make your work more engaging for readers and possibly more rewarding for yourself. This too will be interactive, so bring your questions.
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM FLX Feast: Lunch & Lawn Games hosted by Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Outside Tent: It’s a Finger Lakes Farewell! Master Sommelier, winemaker and local chef Christopher Bates will provide traditional upstate New York picnic fare. It’s a casual send off in celebration of a successful wine bloggers weekend.
1:00 PM Pickup at Radisson Hotel for the Post-Conference Excursion to the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
9:00 PM Dropoff at Radisson Hotel from the Post-Conference Excursion