The 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference will take place August 11-14 in Lodi, California. Citizen wine bloggers, industry bloggers, and other wine and social media professionals will gather from throughout the world to meet, learn, and share at this, the ninth annual conference.
Lodi is important in terms of wine grape growing. While California leads the nation with 90% of all wine production, Lodi accounted for over 17% of the grapes in the state crushed for wine in 2014. A classic Mediterranean climate pervades the region and as such, the region boasts a broad array of winegrape offerings – over 75 different varieties at commercial levels, including some unique old world varietals.
Lodi is now also emerging as a well-known and regarded wine producing region. Well, emerged. Lodi was recently named the Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine. In 1986, Lodi was officially designated as an AVA and subsequently seven distinct sub-appellations have been designated, highlighting the region’s diversity in climate and gerography.
In the last 20 years Lodi has seen a rapid increase in the number of wineries making great wines from the region, now boasting over 85 wineries. The region is also seeing increased interest from winemakers throughout California and the country to make their wines from Lodi grapes – wineries such as Turley, Bedrock, Ramey, Cline Cellars, Forlorn Hope.
Who Should Attend
- Citizen Bloggers or writers who write about wine or the wine industry and who wish to network with other new media; learn from experts in writing, technology, and social media; and enjoy a fantastic weekend of meals and wines from Lodi and around the world.
- Industry Bloggers who maintain a blog to support their winery or other wine-related business.
- New Media Innovators who work in the world of blogging and social media.
- Wine Industry members who would like to learn about new media or interact with bloggers.
Cost, Payment, Cancellation, and What is Included
The cost of the conference is $95 for citizen wine bloggers (those unaffiliated with a business or organization), $295 for industry bloggers (those whose blog is affiliated with a winery, retail store, or other business or organization), and $395 for non-blogger participants (industry, media relations professionals, friends and family, etc). To sign up as a Citizen Blogger, you must have an active (i.e. at least three current posts) blog that does not promote a business. Friends and spouses you wish to bring with you who are not clearly identified on your blog as part of the team need to sign up as a non-blogger. We are able to offer a lower price to citizen bloggers and wine-industry bloggers because it is for these folks our sponsors underwrite the conference.
Payment is required in advance by credit card. If you must cancel your registration, your payment is 50% refundable through July 13, 2015 and not refundable after that. Please note you can insure against losing your conference registration fee (and your airplane tickets) by purchasing trip insurance. This is only good for those of you traveling from outside of the conference area and staying overnight.
The conference includes multiple wine tastings, two dinners and usually several other meals, an afternoon of winery visits, and outstanding content. Not included in the conference price are your hotel, transportation to and from the area, and the pre-conference and post-conference excursions.
In exchange for the discounted rates for Citizen and Industry Bloggers, we respectfully request that you blog about the conference at least three times (Citizen Bloggers) or one time (Industry Blogger) for the $300 / $100 discount you are receiving. You can blog about anything you want – the conference, venue, host city, sponsors, speakers, wines, wineries, whatever. This is what keeps our sponsors attending and what allows us to give you a discounted rate.
Most conference events will take place at Hutchins Street Square, a performing arts center and community/conference center in the center of Lodi. The facility has graciously extended all its space for our conference use, which will give us plenty of room for our sessions, wine tastings, and meals. Lodi Wine will be providing shuttles to and from our host hotels.
We secured room blocks at two hotels in Lodi that share the same parking lot and are located 2.3 miles from Hutchins Street Square. Transportation will be provided between the Square and the hotels at appropriate times during the conference. Please book either hotel as you wish – we recommend booking as soon as you can as our blocks are limited and will sell out. There are no modern hotels within walking distance of the venue.
- Holiday Inn Express: $139 for rooms. Rates available August 9-14.
- Hampton Inn & Suites: $124 for traditional rooms and $144 for suites. Rates available August 10-16. NOTE: This hotel is completely sold out
If you are interested in sharing a hotel room with a fellow participant, post a comment on our WBC – Alumni & Registered Attendees Facebook Group.
Alternative Lodging Options: Once our room blocks sell out, you will need to book whatever is available. At the time of this writing (July 1) here are three hotels with space in Lodi, all fairly close to the two hotels above. We will be providing shuttle service to the Best Western Royal Host Inn in addition to our two main hotels.
- Best Western Royal Host Inn
- Motel 6 (.6 miles to Holiday Inn Express)
- Econo Lodge (.7 miles to the Best Western)
Here are a few options that are in local towns and are a 15-20 min drive to Hutchins Street Square.
Arrival and Departure
The conference begins at 6:00 PM on Thursday evening, August 11 with the Registration and Opening Reception. If you are unable to arrive on Thursday, you can also check in on Friday morning. Content begins at 9:15 AM on Friday.
Lodi is only 45 minutes south of Sacramento International Airport, 1:40 west of the airport in Oakland, California, and a bit farther from San Francisco and San Jose. Shuttles are available from Super Shuttle and Roadrunner.
Weather & Dress Code
The average high temperature in Lodi in August is 90 degrees with almost no chance of rain. Nighttime temperatures drop to an average 54 degrees. To no one’s surprise, it will likely be hot and sunny.
Dress is “wine country casual”. What does that mean? Really, you should dress as you feel comfortable. For daytime sessions, jeans or shorts and a polo shirt are fine. For the Friday excursions into wine country, you should have good shoes and protection from sun or rain. For the Saturday evening banquet, many people will dress up a bit.