2017 Wine Bloggers Conference Agenda
If you wish to plan or participate in any unofficial events, please respect our sponsors and speakers by not doing so if they conflict with anything on this official agenda.
Tuesday, November 7
Various times Pick Up for Lodi Pre-Conference Excursion at Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
Wednesday, November 8
1:30 PM Pick Up for Inner Mendo Odyssey and Treasury Wine Estates Pre-Conference Excursions (Lobby Entrance)
Thursday, November 9
10:00 AM Pickup for Hanna Winery Pre-Conference Excursion (Lobby Entrance)
12:00 – 6:00 PM Registration (Alexander Valley Foyer): Pick up your name badge and official check in for the Conference.
12:00 – 1:30 PM Drop Off at Host Hotels from Pre-Conference Excursions
- Lodi Wine (Russian River Valley 1)
- Treasury Wine Estates – Beringer (Russian River Valley 2)
- Zinfandels Old and New (Dry Creek 1)
- Rodney Strong (Dry Creek 2)
- Treasury Wine Estates – Etude (Russian River Valley 2)
- Zinfandel Panel Discussion & Tasting (Dry Creek 1)
5:00 – 7:00 PM Expo, Opening Reception, and Wines of the World (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): Check in to the conference, hear from our sponsors, and taste wines from both the local area and around the world as you meet and greet your fellow attendees. Our current list of Expo presenters includes:
- Barone Fini Wines
- Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC
- El Dorado Wines
- Fries Family Wines
- Rías Baixas
- Sacramento International Airport
- Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute
- Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media
- Treasury Wine Estates – Beringer Vineyards
- WBC Scholarship
- Wine Industry Network
- Wine Institute
- Wine Road
- Wines of Alsace
6:30 PM Wine Country Dinner Excursions (Lobby Entrance)
Friday, November 10
8:00 – 6:00 PM Registration (Alexander Valley Foyer): Registration will remain open all day.
9:00 – 9:10 AM Opening & Welcome (Alexander Valley 1 & 2)
9:10 – 11:10 AM Professional Wine Writing Tips (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): We will have four professional wine writers and editors present four different sessions of 30 minutes each:
- What’s Your Point of View: Wine journalist and educator Deborah Parker Wong will talk about using the four points of view in wine writing: First Person Omniscient, “I”; First Person Plural, “we”; Second Person Singular, “You”; and Third-Person Omniscient, “Reporter’s Point of View”.
- The Dirty Work – Checking Facts, Asking Questions, and Finding Sources: It is easy to write a blog post but hard to write a news story, much less an investigative piece. Learn how to go about the grunt work of writing to improve your product, as presented by Wine Business Monthly editor-in-chief Cyril Penn.
- The Ethics of Wine Writing: Should you accept free wine? Free travel? Are you expected to provide a story if you do? Should you write about a wine you don’t like? We’ll hear about these and other ethical issues in wine writing from long-time wine blogger and writer Fred Swan.
- Enrich Your Wine Vocabulary: WBC17’s keynote speaker Andrea Robinson returns to talk about Enriching Your Wine Vocabulary. This is an issue all wine reviewers face – how do you describe another New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc without resorting to the same old adjectives?
11:10 – 11:25 AM Break
11:25 AM – 12:25 PM What Companies Want from Wine Bloggers (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): Ever want to write for a winery or review their wines? Or perhaps get invited by wineries or wine regions to press trips, local events, or wine dinners? Learn from a panel of industry experts the most important criteria that wineries and other companies use to evaluate whether to work with a wine blogger. Our panel includes Lisa Mattson from Jordan Winery, Ariane Hiltebrand from Sonoma County Tourism, and Katie Calhoun of Calhoun & Company, with moderator Allison Levine of Please the Palate.
12:25 – 2:25 PM Lunch With El Dorado Wines (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): El Dorado wine region is a non-conforming and refreshing definition of wine country lifestyle, personality and winegrowing. Meet more than 20 winemakers from one of California’s oldest winemaking regions. Taste a wide diversity of wines grown in the dramatic elevations with the winemaker at your table. This is a unique opportunity to make a connection with the people, the place, and of course, the wine.
2:25 – 3:25 PM Wine Discovery Sessions: Choose one of two wine tasting sessions designed to present you with interesting wines and information from the actual producers.
- Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC (Dry Creek 1 & 2): Stretching from the southern shores of Lake Garda like a pendant from a necklace lies the jewel-like winegrowing region of Lugana. With one foot planted in Lombardy to the west and the other planted in the Veneto to the east, the Lugana DOC is unique among the white wine growing regions of Italy. Home to the Turbiana variety, a near-relative of Verdicchio, the Consorzio Tutela Lugana is proud to present a Discovery Session that celebrates the region’s 50th anniversary and her extraordinary wines.Join Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET for a guided tasting that introduces Lugana’s terroir and the winemaking that creates a broad range of wine styles from the indigenous Turbiana. This session is an opportunity to taste current-vintage 2016s, Riserva and late harvest wines and to understand the variety’s longevity and aging potential. Read More Here
- DOP Cariñena (Alexander 3 & 4): Denominacion de Origen Protegida (DOP) Cariñena in Aragon is the birthplace of the Garnacha grape, an indigenous variety that produces some of the most renowned red wines across the globe. It was planted in this region prior to anywhere else in the world, and in Spain, Cariñena is home to the highest concentration of old-vine Garnacha. Cariñena is not only the second oldest region in Spain (after Rioja), but is also home to its own varietal and appellation. If you are seeking great value and intense flavors, then this historic region is one you will want to get to know. In this seminar, we’ll explore the numerous styles of wines cultivated in Cariñena, influenced by its varying elevations, terroir and winemaking techniques. Experience firsthand why Lyn Farmer says Cariñena is one of his favorite wine regions!
3:25 – 3:40 PM Break
3:40 – 4:30 PM Keynote Speaker Doug Frost (Alexander Valley 1 & 2)
4:30 – 5:30 PM Live White & Rosé Wine Blogging (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. Winemakers will each have five minutes to pour their wine, present their story, and answer questions from a table of bloggers. At the end of five minutes, winemakers will rotate to a new table. Bloggers will analyze and describe their impressions live via social media or their blogs. See this year’s participating wineries here.
5:30 – 6:00 PM Live Wine Blogging Followup (Alexander Valley Foyer): New in 2017, we are assigning 30 minutes after Live Wine Blogging to allow attendees to communicate with and try wines from wineries participating in the event.
6:15 PM Jordan Winery Dinner Excursion (Lobby Entrance)
6:30 PM Wine Country Dinner Excursions Martin Ray Winery & Thomas George Dinner Excursions (Lobby Entrance)
Saturday, November 11
8:30 – 6:o0 PM Registration (Alexander Valley Foyer): Registration will remain open all day.
9:15 – 10:15 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three breakout sessions to attend.
- Advanced Social Media Beyond Hashtags and Likes (Russian River Valley): This seminar will focus on boosting engagement on your social media channels and funneling traffic to your wine blog. Our presenter is Charlotte Chipperfield, who is a social media expert and Founder & CEO of Chipperfield Media, where she works primarily with food and beverage clients to help them build genuine connections with their customers through social media.
- Take Your Camera Off Automatic (Alexander Valley 1): Tips for better food, wine & travel photos for beginner to expert. Learn how a few simple changes can improve your blog photos. We’ll cover tips for your phone as well as your camera. We’ll highlight a useful, minimal travel kit. Finally we’ll cover inexpensive tools and lighting for your home studio. Our presenter is Jeff Burrows from Food Wine Click!
- How To Help Wineries And Get Paid Doing It (Alexander Valley 2): In his WBC16 presentation that was so well received, Austin Beeman inspired bloggers and wine brands to work together and meet the future head on. This year it all gets practical. Drawing on his time as Director of Marketing for Bonny Doon Vineyard and his MBA in Wine Management from Bordeaux, Beeman with outline the specific skills, tools, and experiences that bloggers can offer. And show exactly how to sell it to the wineries that need it most.
10:15 – 10:30 AM Break
10:30 – 11:30 AM Breakout Sessions: Choose one of three breakout sessions to attend.
- Pitch Perfect – A look at the Blogger-PR Relationship (Alexander Valley 2): As a blogger, whether new or seasoned, you’ve heard about free wine samples to review, tastings to attend, press trips to wine country, media lunches at fabulous restaurants, and interviews with fascinating winemakers. You have also seen wineries sponsoring content or having bloggers act as brand ambassador or representative. How do bloggers get to that point, and what are the stories they can share for their best practices of working with wineries? What tips do bloggers have for wineries, to attract bloggers to them? Our panelists are successful bloggers Jana Seitzer, Rebecca Gomez Farrell, and Jeff Kralik with moderator Leeann Froese.
- Lights, Camera, Action! (Russian River Valley): With video being the main way we consume content, bloggers need to reach consumers beyond just wine notes and reviews. In this session we’ll discuss how to create videos to capture and experience wine beyond the glass. Our panelists include Tanisha Townsend from Girl Meets Glass, Jenn Nelson from Wine Antics, Sarita Cheaves from Vine Me Up, and Maia Parrish from Tales of a Wine Mistress.
- Legal Issues Every Blogger Should Know (Alexander Valley 1): Did your photograph wind up on someone else’s website without permission? Have you properly disclosed that your wine review is based on a free sample? Your blog may be for fun but the law treats you just like other media and publishers. This panel will go over the practical realities of legal compliance, protecting your copyright, and staying out of trouble. Our speakers include regulatory affairs expert Doug Levy and lawyer Seth Buckley, both also wine bloggers.
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM Lunch On Your Own
1:30 – 2:30 PM Wine Discovery Sessions: Choose one of three wine tasting sessions designed to present you with interesting wines and information from the actual producers.
- DO Rías Baixas (Alexander Valley 1): Denomination of Origin (DO) Rías Baixas is renowned for the Albariño grape, an indigenous variety that produces some of the world’s foremost white wines. Located in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain, the DO was formally established in 1988. Albariño has always been the flagship of this coastal region. In Rías Baixas’ unique climate, Albariño shares the same mineral-rich soils and cool climate as the world’s other renowned white wine-producing regions, including France’s Loire Valley, New Zealand, and the Rhine region of Germany. In this seminar, we’ll explore the various styles of wines produced in the region, influenced by the different sub zones and winemaking techniques. Taste why Lyn Farmer says that the best thing to have with Albariño is a second bottle of Albariño!
- The O.G. PG: An Exploration of Alsace’s Pinot Gris Styles (Alexander Valley 2): Alsace may not be the birthplace of Pinot Gris—the same grape as the lighter-bodied Pinot Grigio—but the region is responsible for popularizing its signature fuller-bodied, richer style. Alsace Pinot Gris, the “O.G. PG,” remains the only AOC Pinot Gris in France and serves as the source of inspiration for many New World producers, especially in Oregon. Join Wines of Alsace’s Cassidy Havens, DipWSET, to learn more about Alsace and taste three distinct styles from the region—ranging from dry and aromatic, to off-dry and full-bodied, to lusciously sweet.
2:30 – 2:45 PM Break
2:45 – 3:45 PM Wine Country Fires (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): We will hear from a panel of locals who lived through the recent, devastating fires. Our panel includes:
- George Rose: Photographer and WBC alum who will show photos of the fires
- Pierre Bierbent: Winemaker at Signorello Estates which was damaged in the fires
- Patsy McGaughy: Communications Director at Napa Valley Vintners
- Jolaine Collins (Moderator): Owner at Collins Communications
3:45 – 4:00 PM Break
4:00 – 5:00 PM How Media Can Respond to a Crisis (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): Learn how several of your peers not only survived the local fires but used their skills to help their communities survive. While we hope it never happens to you, this panel might give you the information to enable you to benefit your community in the event of a future catastrophe. Our panel includes photographer George King, writer (and chief Tweeter during the fires) Sarah Stierch, writer Virginie Boone, and moderator Jolaine Collins.
5:00 – 6:00 PM Live Red Wine Blogging (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): This is the pre-eminent event at the Wine Bloggers Conference. Winemakers will each have five minutes to pour their wine, present their story, and answer questions from a table of bloggers. At the end of five minutes, winemakers will rotate to a new table. Bloggers will analyze and describe their impressions live via social media or their blogs. See this year’s participating wineries here.
6:00 – 6:30 PM Live Wine Blogging Follow-up (Alexander Valley Foyer): New in 2017, we are assigning 30 minutes after Live Wine Blogging to allow attendees to communicate with and try wines from wineries participating in the event.
7:00 – 9:00 PM Dinner Sponsored by NakedWines.com (Alexander Valley 1 & 2): Join NakedWines.com as they host our annual banquet dinner.
9:00 PM Announcement of 2018 Location and Date and Wrap Up of Conference (Alexander Valley 1 & 2)
Sunday, November 12
9:00 AM & 9:30 AM Pickup at Host Hotel for Post-Con Excursions (Lobby Entrance): New in 2017, our post-conference excursions will start in the morning, allowing excursion hosts to have more daylight hours and attendees to return to their homes this evening.
2:30 PM Drop off at Host Hotel from Post-Con Excursions
4:00 PM Possible drop off at area airports